Whether you’re a weekend warrior or you train more seriously, you have a higher risk of a groin pull or strain than someone who doesn’t work out or play sports. Groin pulls are both common and painful.
At Orthocenter, our skilled experts provide sports medicine services, and those services include treating groin pulls. We want to help you avoid injury if possible, but also know that if it happens, we can help you get back to training.
What is your groin, anyway?
Your groin is the area where your lower abdomen and your legs meet. There are five muscles, called your hip adductors, located at the top of your inner thigh. These muscles move your leg inward — called “adduction” — as when you kick a ball or when you squeeze your legs together while riding horseback.
Your hip adductors also help stabilize your body when you stand, walk, and run. Simply stated: They’re important! But they’re also quite small, which is one reason they’re often strained.
When you strain or pull your groin muscles, you overstretch them, or actually tear them. Strains are graded. A grade 1 strain is milder, while a grade 3 strain is a complete tear of your muscle.
What does a groin pull feel like?
In a word, a groin strain is painful. The worse the strain, the worse the pain, so a grade 3 strain is more painful and takes longer to heal than a grade 1 strain.
Usually, you feel the pain of a groin strain on your inner thigh, but the pain could occur anywhere between your hip and your knee. Your upper leg may also feel weak. You might have some swelling and bruising, and you may find it difficult to walk or run.
How is a groin pull treated?
The good news about this particular injury is that it usually heals well without a lot of treatment. You need to rest, and you may need some physical therapy or for your doctor to teach you exercises to help you regain strength and mobility.
If you have a grade 3 strain, we may recommend surgery to repair the tear.
In the immediate aftermath of the injury, you should rest, apply ice, wrap a bandage around your thigh for compression, elevate your leg, and if you can, take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Once your doctor evaluates your injury, they will recommend further treatment.
How long does it take to heal?
One important thing is that once you have pulled your groin muscles, you’re at a greater risk of the same injury again. One way to make sure that doesn’t happen is to be fully healed before you return to regular training. Even if you feel great, follow your doctor’s instructions.
The severity of your strain largely dictates how long it’s likely to take to heal. A grade 1 strain may take 2-3 weeks, a grade 2 is more like 2-3 months, and a grade 3 strain usually takes four or more months to heal.
If you suspect you may have pulled a groin muscle, schedule an appointment with one of the skilled physicians at Orthocenter, which has locations in Red Bank, Morganville, and Holmdel. We’re happy to answer your questions and guide you through your injury.