Pulled Groin

Pulled Groin

Muscle strains, or pulls, occur when the muscle fibers are suddenly overly stretched. This stretching can cause a minor pull or lead to slight or significant tearing of muscle fibers. If an athlete's groin is forced into an awkward position, it could lead to excessive stretching of the groin. If an athlete's groin muscles are tight due to a lack of warming up or minimal stretching, it is more susceptible to pulling and tearing from rapid movements (sprinting, lunging, kicking, etc.).

Causes of groin strains include:

  • Awkward falls.
  • Collisions.
  • Lifting.
  • Quick, tweaking movements.
  • Overuse.

Signs of a Pulled Groin

If you start to notice pain and discomfort in your groin, you should watch for further signs of a potential groin muscle tear or stretch. Meet with a local sports medicine specialist, chiropractor, primary care physician or orthopedic surgeon to receive a complete diagnosis as well as treatment advice if you notice any of these symptoms:

  • Snapping or popping sound at the time of the injury.
  • Pain in the groin.
  • Loss of flexibility or stiffness.
  • Swelling.
  • Bruising.
  • Discomfort while walking or running.
  • Decrease in upper leg strength.

Preventing a pulled groin muscle

Pulled groins typically occur gradually over the course of a workout, game, week or season. As a result, if you take the proper preventative measures, you can identify the signs of a groin strain and avoid this pesky setback. Follow these tips for preventing pulled groin muscles:

Ease yourself into full-speed action - If you're coming off an extended break during the offseason or due to injury, your muscles aren't as resilient as they are with regular use. Allow your groin to properly develop flexibility and strength over the course of a few days, weeks or months before going 100 percent.

Avoid overuse - Overuse can occur either through repetitive movements over and over, or by pushing your body to an uncomfortable level. Your groin can only take so much use before it gives out. Listen to your body to avoid pulling your groin.

Stretch and stay in shape - If your groin and hips are limber and flexible, the muscles and tendons in your groin will have a higher tolerance for stretching and straining. Therefore, injury due to awkward positions for your legs is less risky. If you regularly work out, especially throughout the offseason, you also reduce the risk of pulling your groin.

Warm up before games - Just like you should ease yourself into the season with workouts and practices, you should prepare your groin muscles for the movements that are required during a competition. If muscles go from being stiff to rapidly expanding, the fibers won't have the same elasticity as they would if they were "warmed up", which can lead to strain or tears.

Treating Pulled Groins

Pulled groins typically require little intervention from a medical provider, aside from the initial diagnosis and recovery guidance. The safest and most effective form of treatment is to simply allow the body to heal naturally. Athletes can rely on these treatment techniques to promote natural healing and avoid setbacks:

  • Rest - Avoid exercise or too much activity for a few days or weeks while the groin regains its strength.
  • Ice - Ice will help reduce swelling in the injured area, which helps reduce discomfort and the risk of further complications.
  • Compression - Compression around the groin will help stabilize the muscle and reduce inflammation.
  • Elevation - Elevating the leg above the heart will slow down the blood flow to the injured groin, which adds to the efforts to reduce inflammation in the groin.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications - If ice, compression and elevation are not enough to reduce swelling, anti-inflammatory pills can be used to assist in the recovery process.
  • Physical therapy - Once the groin is strong enough to sustain some movement, you should start the process of rebuilding strength and flexibility in the muscle.
  • Massage therapy - Targeted pressure to the injured groin muscles will help relieve pain and stretch out the stiff muscle fibers.
  • Surgery - It is extremely rare that a pulled groin will require surgery, but, in the event that the injured groin does not heal with normal treatment methods, an orthopedic surgeon can perform surgery to help remove damaged tissue and mend the torn ligaments or muscle fibers.

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