The place where your abdomen meets your leg, and where your inner thigh muscles attach to the pubic bone, is called your groin. The groin can be strained in a number of ways, but groin strains most often occur in the upper muscles of the inner thigh, nearest to the pubic bone or in front of the hip. Groin strains are most common in athletes, but any kind of forceful leg movement can strain the groin, including jumping, kicking, or changing directions while running. In hockey, 10% of all injuries are groin strains, and 5% in soccer. Physical therapy is helpful in treating groin strains because it teaches patients how to improve their muscle strength and leg motion, which speeds up their recovery process.
What is a Groin Strain?
When the inner thigh muscles or the muscles in front of the hip stretch too far or tear, it’s called a groin strain. When you have a strained groin, you’ll experience difficulty or pain when walking, raising your knee, or moving your leg away from or toward your body in any way. You wind up straining your groin in instances where you overuse your muscles, or contract them too suddenly (or forcefully).
Muscle strain is graded by severity:
- Grade 1 – Tender muscle with moderate pain, but normal strength. A mild or partial tear of only a few muscle fibers. Patient can walk normally and use the leg as usual.
- Grade 2 – Increased tenderness and pain, and obvious loss of strength. Sometimes bruising may occur. More of the muscle fibers are torn or stretched. The patient has difficulty moving, and often limps when walking.
- Grade 3 – Most severe and painful; sometimes a complete muscle tear. Patient may hear or feel a “popping” sound at the time of injury. In addition to bruising, there is sometimes a visible “dent” in the muscle where the tear is located. Putting any weight on the leg is very painful, and walking/moving is incredibly difficult.
How Can a Physical Therapist Help?
Your experienced physical therapist will assess your condition and put together a custom treatment program that will best suit your needs to speed up your recovery. Your program will be composed of exercises and treatments that you’ll be able to do at home in order to get you back to your regular activities.
The First Two Days
- Rest your injured muscles by avoiding putting weight on them. You may want to use crutches to decrease the risk of straining the groin muscles further.
- Ice the affected area every 2 hours for 15-20 minutes at a time.
- Apply an elastic bandage wrap for compression.
- Communicate with other health care providers for additional services, such as pain medication and diagnostic testing.
If you’ve experienced a groin strain, contact our experienced team to get started on a personalized treatment program today!