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A groin strain occurs when one or more of the groin or adductor muscles in your inner thigh are torn. Your groin muscles allow movement of your leg up to your waist and provide stability in your pelvis. When this muscle is strained, movement is inhibited. A groin strain can be a small tear or a major rupture that causes noticeable pain.
Classes of Groin Strains
As indicated earlier there are various levels of pain one can experience. Groin strains can belong to one of three levels: Grade 1, grade 2 and grade 3.
Grade 1: The tear in the groin muscle is noticeable but full function is still possible.
Grade 2: A greater number of fibres are torn and there is some loss of function.
Grade 3: All muscle fibres are torn and there is near total loss of function.
Identifying a Groin Strain
The person will usually experience a sharp pain when engaged in an intensive physical activity. If it is a minor injury, the person will be able to continue the activity but will experience an increase in the level of pain once the activity stops and the body cools down. Groin injuries typically occur during activities that place particular strain on the groin area. These activities include walking, climbing stairs, running, twisting, jumping and kicking. Pain can also occur when performing a groin stretch. Symptoms include swelling, muscle spasm, tightness, weakness, and bruising.
A physiotherapist will also carry out an examination to make an accurate diagnosis. A referral for an MRI scan or ultrasound may be necessary. Your primary care physician can refer you for these tests.
Treating a Groin Strain
There are a variety of options for treating a groin strain. These include massage, medication, ice or heat treatment, acupuncture and exercise. In severe cases surgical intervention might be required.
Exercises for a Groin Strain
- Groin Squeeze: The groin squeeze is a common therapeutic exercise. To perform this exercise, lie on your back with a rolled towel or ball between your legs and gently squeeze the ball. Hold for three to five seconds, then release. Repeat as long as there is no pain.
- Groin Stretch: Stand straight with your feet apart (approximately twice your shoulder width). Slowly lunge to one side while keeping the other knee straight. Hold for five seconds and then repeat up to ten times or as possible pain-free.
For more information on exercise and treatment, contact one of our physiotherapists. They can do a thorough assessment of your situation to see what course action is best for you.