A groin strain is a muscle strain or tear in the groin area of the body – the top of the leg, where the inner thigh muscles are attached to the pubic bone.
Although anyone can experience a groin strain, it’s an injury more common in athletes since pain in that area usually occurs because of overstretching, typically when the muscles are not warm enough, or the result of a tear to one of the muscles/tendons caused by moving suddenly. Groin strains are common in sports where a turn of speed or change of direction takes place – they account for 10%1 of all hockey injuries and 5% of football injuries. But they can also occur by simply slipping and falling.
Symptoms of a groin strain
Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the groin strain. A mild strain may not become apparent until up to 48 hours after the overstretch, but a complete muscle tear will be immediately painful. The injury is typically broken down into three degrees of severity2:
- 1st degree – mild discomfort, but minimal loss of strength or movement.
- 2nd degree – moderate pain and some loss of strength and movement caused by tissue damage.
- 3rd degree – intense pain, bruising and swelling and loss of strength and movement caused by a complete tear of the muscle/tendon.
Treating a groin strain
No matter the severity of the injury, it’s always helpful to begin by icing the area. The quicker you start icing, the more effective the treatment is, therefore icing during the first hour is crucial to reduce swelling and bruising. During the first week, 15-minute bursts a couple of times a day are recommended.
Taking anti-inflammatories can also help to reduce bruising, swelling and muscle pain. For ongoing pain relief, BioWaveGO is an effective treatment for a groin strain. Our revolutionary pain blocking technology blocks pain at the nerve. Placing the electrodes on the affected area for 30 minutes provides up to eight hours of pain relief.
Stretches and exercises
When a muscle injury begins to heal, gentle movement is key to aiding a speedy recovery. The following exercises are a great way to introduce movement to a recovering groin strain.
- Stand straight with your feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart.
- Bend one knee while keeping the other straight so that you move down on one side.
- Put your weight onto the leg with the bent knee so that you feel a stretch in the groin area of the opposing leg.
- Hold the position for approximately 30 seconds, and then repeat on the opposite side.
Repeat this on either side three times. And run through this exercise up to three times a day.
- Lie on your back with bent knees and your feet pressed into the floor.
- Slowly let your knees drop open so that you can feel the stretch in your groin, but not so that it’s painful.
- Press the soles of your feet together and hold this position for approximately 30 seconds before bringing your knees back together.
Repeat this exercise three times and run through it three times a day.
- Lie on your back with a pillow between your knees.
- Squeeze your knees together for 30 seconds so that you can feel the stretch in your groin area.
Repeat this strengthening exercise three times and run through it three times a day.
Returning to cardio
When you manage to do the exercises above without pain, you can think about returning to cardio, such as running.
Be sure to warm up thoroughly before attempting cardio, particularly in the area of your groin strain. Start by doing something low impact, like light jogging or cycling, and build up slowly. When you feel no pain during the light exercise – and during the next day – you can start to think about returning to your regular form of exercise.