A groin strain is a muscular tear or rupture to any one of your groin muscles, usually one of the hip adductor muscle group. Any of these groin muscles can be strained but the most common is adductor longus. A groin strain usually occurs with a high-seed activity such as kicking, sprinting or a sudden change of direction.
A groin strain will occur when the muscle in the groin is stretched too far causing fibres in the muscles to tear and in more severe cases completely rupture. Most commonly caused through sudden contraction or force in sports which the adductor muscle plays a vital role.
Performing an inadequate warm-up before exercise, training or competing can cause a groin strain as the muscles have not been stretched sufficiently causing a lack of flexibility.
If you suffer a groin strain you are likely to feel a sudden pain in the groin area and inner thigh which will become more apparent through continued activity. Other tasks such as walking or running will become painful.
Aching and stiffness will become more apparent in the mornings and alongside bruising on the inside of the thigh are the most common symptoms of a groin strain.
The symptoms of a groin strain can be categorised into three different grades of severity.
Grade 1 – Mild ache in which the patient feels able to resume activity
Grade 2 – Patient feels some further discomfort and some bruising may appear. Activity which include running and jumping become difficult
Grade 3 – Patient feels great pain and swelling, and bruising is significant. Activity becomes very limited and even walking can cause pain to the area.
A doctor or physiotherapist will be able to examine the area to determine the damage sustained. A doctor may also carry out an ultrasound or an MRI scan in order to confirm the diagnosis as well as ruling out any further complications.
The first step to take in order to treat a groin strain would be to follow the PRICE protocol, with rest and applying ice to the injured area is crucial to relieving pain and preventing any further damage.
Anti-inflammatory medications can also be taken in order to reduce swelling as well as relieving pain or aching from the injury.
Applying heat to the injury during the healing process can also be beneficial as it will loosen the muscles and provide pain relief as well as using ice treatment after the activity is over.
When the injury has begun healing and you are advised by a physiotherapist or doctor, it is important for the patient to undergo a rehabilitation program such as strengthening and stretching exercises which will keep the area strong and make it easier to return to sports once the injury has fully recovered.
These exercises should not be carried out if the patient feels pain in the area and the advice of a physiotherapist should always be sought in order to obtain an exercise regime suitable for the individual.