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A groin strain injury can occur due to overuse, sports, or strenuous activities.
If you experience soreness, a strain, or a tear in your groin, you must take steps to heal. This involves taking a break from activities that aggravate your condition and doing exercises to repair and strengthen your groin.
Read on to learn about exercises you can use to rehabilitate a torn, strained, or sore groin muscle. We’ll also cover what typically causes groin strains, how to prevent them, and when to see a doctor.
Often occurring in professional and recreational athletes, a groin strain is an injury to the inside of the thigh. It’s possible for these muscles, known as the adductor muscles, to be injured or torn.
Sometimes, a muscle strain is referred to as a pulled muscle. Normally, a groin strain is a minor injury, though it has the potential to be more serious.
Signs and symptoms of a groin strain
Signs and symptoms of a groin strain include pain, swelling, and loss of mobility with the adductor muscles, nearby tendons, or close to the pubic bone. Slight bruising, muscle weakness and spasms, and difficulty walking are also possible.
What can cause a groin strain
Groin strains often happen due to abrupt movements while running, jumping, or skating. You may also experience groin discomfort when you walk. It can also happen when playing basketball, soccer, and ice hockey.
Kicking, turning, or twisting quickly can also cause this type of injury. Overuse of the adductor muscles can also cause groin strain, along with resistance training, a fall, or lifting heavy items.
Not warming up properly or pushing yourself too hard can also lead to groin strain, especially if you’re starting a new fitness program. Among women, groin pain on the right side or the left side may be an indication of an underlying condition, such as kidney stones or a urinary tract infection.
If what you believe to be a groin strain doesn’t gradually resolve with time as expected, it’s important to follow up with your doctor or physical therapist to rule out
How to heal a groin strain
First and foremost, stop doing the activity that you think may have caused the groin strain, or any activities that cause pain in this area. This is imperative to proper healing. Depending on the degree of the strain, it may take a few weeks or several months for the pain to resolve.
After the pain subsides, you can begin to do stretches and exercises to heal a groin injury. Usually, you can begin these exercises within a few days of your initial injury, but it depends on the severity of your strain.
The exercises outlined in this article are intended to gently build strength and flexibility in your hips, groin, and legs.
Start with the exercises that you find to be the easiest and most comfortable. Stay away from any exercise that causes you pain or discomfort. As you progress, you may be able to add the other exercises back into your routine.
For best results, do these exercises at least three times per week.
This exercise targets your inner thigh muscles. If you have a lot of tightness, place cushions under your knees.
- Lie on your back with bent knees.
- Press your feet into the floor.
- Allow your knees to drop open to the sides.
- Press the soles of your feet together.
- Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.
- Return your knees to the starting position.
- Repeat 3 times.
This exercise stretches the back of your thigh.
- Position yourself on your back near a doorway.
- Extend your unaffected leg in front of you on the floor of the doorway.
- Place your affected leg along the wall next to the doorframe.
- Hold this position for up to 30 seconds.
- Repeat 3 times.
This exercise builds strength in your thigh muscles. During this exercise, engage your thigh and leg muscles to keep your leg straight.
- Lie on your back with your legs extended.
- Bend the knee of your unaffected leg.
- Press your foot into the floor.
- Engage the thigh muscles on your affected side.
- Raise your leg 8 inches from the floor.
- Slowly return your leg to the floor.
- Do 2 sets of 15 repetitions.
You’ll need a resistance band for this exercise, which builds strength in your thighs.
- Stand with your back to a door.
- Make a loop and place the resistance band around the ankle of your affected leg.
- Place the other end of the resistance band around an anchor point.
- Engage the front of your thigh and keep your leg straight as you extend your leg forward.
- Slowly go back to the starting position.
- Do 2 sets of 15.
To prevent groin strains, take care when exercising or doing any strenuous activities. This is especially important if you’ve already had a groin strain or have muscle weakness in this area.
If you’ve taken a break from a sport, start slowly once you resume the activity. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts. This helps you gain the strength and flexibility needed to support healthy movement patterns.
You may want to work on improving your endurance and range of motion in your lower body, too. Always include a warmup and cooldown in your workouts.
See a doctor if you have significant pain in your groin that’s not getting better with at-home treatment, which includes taking a break from activity.
Your doctor or physical therapist will ask about your symptoms and the possible cause of your injury. They’ll perform a physical examination that allows them to determine the location of your injury based on your pain levels. This may involve moving your adductor muscles and testing your leg’s range of motion. Some cases may require an X-ray or MRI.
Your doctor or physical therapist will also determine the seriousness of your injury. They’ll decide if it’s a grade 1, 2, or 3 groin strain. From there, they can decide on the best treatment plan based on your individual conditions, age, fitness ability, and general health.
Your treatment plan may include physical therapy that consists of exercises, stationary cycling, and treadmill walking. At home, you can elevate, ice, and wrap your affected leg while resting as much as possible. Some cases may require crutches.
To find a physical therapist in your area, use the American Physical Therapy Association’s Find a PT tool.
While you’re healing from a groin strain, stay away from any activities that increase your pain levels. It’s also important that you continue to do groin exercises even after you see improvements.
It may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to make a full recovery. Once you’re fully recovered, you can slowly start your other activities again.
Pay attention to how your groin area feels as you start to become more active. Reduce the intensity and duration of your activities if you start to feel the pain returning.