Groin Strain

The muscles of the groin pull the legs together. Altogether, there are several distinct groin muscles. Of these, the adductor magnus and sartorius muscles are the most common to suffer a strain.

What is a groin strain?
A groin strain is a tear or excessive stretch of the groin muscles or tendons. Often people called these type of injuries a “pulled muscle.”  This injury typically occurs with running and jumping activities. Sports that involve lateral cuts can also cause a groin strain. For a runner, this usually involves cross-training or in some circumstances, trail or ultra running. over-use. Bicycling, jumping, soccer, or other activities involving forceful kicking such as martial arts are potential causes of a groin strain. Runners may experience a groin strain during cross-training.

How is a groin strain diagnosed?
Patients will notice pain on the inside of the thigh or groin that is aggravated by bringing the legs together and in some cases when lifting the knee up. A doctor or therapist can often determine if a muscle is strained or torn by the location of pain and the strength of the muscle. Certain clinical tests can differentiate a simple strain from a partial or complete tear. An ultrasound or MRI can be used to confirm the diagnosis or aid in treatment.

How is a groin strain treated?
Initial treatment of a groin strain or tear generally involves reducing the inflammation. This may take 5-7 days. Ice and anti-inflammatory medication are the mainstays of initial treatment. Rest also helps reduce pain and prevent further damage. Depending on the severity of the injury, immobilization with crutches may be necessary. Once the immediate inflammation and pain begin to subside, physical therapy and a home exercise program are important. Changes in activity may be required for several weeks or in some instances several months while the tissue heals. It all depends on the severity of the injury.

When can a runner return to activity after a groin strain?
The goal of rehabilitation is to return an athlete to their preferred sport as soon as safely possible. Returning too early will delay healing and lead the potential for further damage to the muscle tissue. Essentially, this starts the clock all over again. Everyone recovers at a different rate and each injury can be unique. A return to running is determined by clinical factors such as regaining proper strength and flexibility, being able to perform everyday activities without pain, and the ability of an athlete to run without pain. Overall, healing may take a few weeks in some cases or several months in more severe injuries.

Can groin strains be prevented?
The best method to reduce calf strains is by maintaining proper strength and flexibility in the muscles of the hip and leg, including the groin.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any injury or disease. It is intended to serve as an overview of running-related injuries and should not be used as a substitute for sound medical advice from a doctor or therapist.