What causes Groin Strain?
A groin strain occurs when the muscles in the groin (adductors) are stretched too far cuasing the fibres in the muscles to tear and in more severe cases completely rupture. The most common cause of groin strain is a sudden contraction or force to the groin muscles and are common in sports such as swimming, running, gymnastics and football in which the adductor muscles play a vital role. This is also a common injury in sports which require rapid acceleration and jumping such as hurdles, basketball and dancing.
Performing an inadequate warm-up before exercise or partaking in sport can cause groin strain as the muscles have not been stretched sufficiently causing a lack of flexibility.
Groin Strain Symptoms
Patients who suffer hamstring tendonitis are likely to feel a sudden pain in groin and inner thigh at the point of injury which gradually becomes more apparent through continued activity. Patients may also feel pain in activities such as walking and running particularly on uneven ground or up-hill surfaces.
Aching and stiffness that becomes more apparent first thing in the morning is common symptoms of this injury as well as swelling and bruising on the inside of the thigh. Symptoms of groin strain can be categorized into three different groups depending on its 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.
Groin Strain Diagnosis
In order to diagnose groin strain, a doctor or physiotherapist will give an examination of the area. Often a doctor will carry out an ultrasound or MRI scan in order to confirm the diagnosis and also to rule out any further complications.
Groin Strain Treatment
In order to treat groin strain, rest is crucial in order to allow the injury time to heal and to prevent any further activity which could cause damage or discomfort to the injury. Applying ice to the injury is an important aspect of healing as it will reduce any swelling and inflammation as well as providing cooling pain relief to the injury. Using the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation) is beneficial for the first 72 hours of the injury occurring as it will reduce swelling to the area and by keeping the injury elevated blood flow is restricted which can prevent further inflammation.
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 be beneficial as it can loosen the muscles and provide warming pain relief. This is also beneficial just before resuming sport or any exercise and should be followed by ice treatment once 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.