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What is a Groin Strain?

A groin strain is an overuse injury to the adductor muscles that run along the inner thigh and pubic region. They help draw the leg inwards and stabilize the torso. A groin strain may result in pain and loss of movement.

Classification of Groin Strains

Groin strains are classified into 3 grades:

Grade 1 tear: The groin muscle is torn or overstretched

Grade 2 tear: There is significant injury to muscle fibres with loss of muscle function

Grade 3 tear: The muscle fibres are completely ruptured

Causes of Groin Strain

Causes of groin strain include:

  • Powerful contraction of the groin muscle
  • Overstretching of the groin muscle
  • Sports injury
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Falls
  • Trauma
  • Repetitive stress
  • Twisting the leg
  • Forceful kicking

Proper assessment of a groin strain is important; in many people the hip is the source of groin pain. When this is mistakenly misdiagnosed, symptoms may persist as the treatment options are not as well directed.

Symptoms of Groin Strain

Symptoms of groin strain vary based on the severity of the injury, and include:

  • Swelling
  • Groin pain
  • Limping
  • Difficulty walking
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness

Diagnosis of Groin Strain

Your physiotherapy will review your history and symptoms and perform an examination of the groin area, including looking at your movement and strength. Sometimes a Consultant review and diagnostic tests may be recommended, in which case your physiotherapist will advise and provide assistance with onward referral.

Treatment for Groin Strain

The main objective of the treatment for groin strain is to reduce swelling and pain, restore mobility and rehabilitate your strength and function. Some common treatment methods include:

  • Rest to unload the injured area and allow healing
  • Manual therapy such as joint mobilisation and massage to promote mobility
  • Exercises to restore mobility and rebuild strength
  • Advise and guidance on the return to your usual sports activities

Grade 3 injuries may require surgery to repair the injured area.

Prevention of Groin Strain

Preventive measures for groin strain include:

  • Proper warm-up before performing exercises
  • Avoid exercising or putting strain on the groin if you feel pain
  • Good training and conditioning for your sport
  • Gradually increasing duration and intensity of exercises

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