Groin strain is a common condition involving damage to an adductor muscle in the pelvis or thigh area.
Grades of Injury
A doctor is likely to grade the injury from 1 to 3 in terms of severity. Grade 1 is a relatively minor tear in a muscle, while Grade 2 injuries are considered to be moderate. Grade 2 comprises a wide spectrum of rips, including injuries with almost full tearing of the muscle in addition to those that are only slightly too severe for Grade 1. If a muscle suffers a partial or total rupture, this is a Grade 3 condition.
The injury is immediately characterised by an unexpected sharp pain around the groin, usually during activity and impeding your progress. It will feel similar to pulling any muscle in that the pain will be aggravated by movement and the area may be tender. A little later the muscle will probably become inflamed, and this can sometimes extend further along the leg. Your leg may exhibit an unnatural colour, and both running and regular walking might be severely painful and inhibited.
In the case of Grade 1 tears, your walking is likely to remain bearable. Additional symptoms indicating a Grade 2 injury include rigidity and tightness in the affected area within 24 hours, bruising, and an inability to stretch your muscle without pain or irritation. For Grade 3 ruptures you will experience significant difficulty performing exercise related to the adductors, intense bruising or inflammation, and may find it impossible to bring the legs together.
Due to the nature of muscle strains they are often provoked by a sudden movement such as jumping, changing direction or commencing a run. These motions place greater pressure on the adductor muscles and can overpower them. A lack of rest during extended periods of strenuous activity can cause overuse, as the muscles may become weakened or fatigued and thus unfit for support. This can also occur if you begin an ambitious training program after a period of inactivity. Failure to warm up correctly leaves the muscles at risk of being torn.
Rest the injury and elevate your leg. Apply ice to the area approximately 3 times per day to reduce pain and swelling. Stay away from walking, running or jumping activities until the pain greatly subsides. Massage therapy may be beneficial; you should consult a doctor about this. Also ask for a doctor's advice if considering anti-inflammatory pain medication like ibuprofen. Seeing a medical professional to ascertain the grade of injury will be helpful in gaining an indication of the length of time you may have to rest. Strains can generally last from one week to two months depending on severity.
Return to activity involving the groin muscles only when pain is significantly reduced. You should wait longer if sharp changes of direction still cause pain. Stretch and strengthen your adductor muscles regularly to add greater support to the area and prevent the injury from returning. Try adding rest to your training routine, and consider cutting down on activities that pressure the area.
- avulsion fracture
- groin strain
- ischiogluteal bursitis
- piriformis syndrome
- sacral stress fractures