A groin pull or strain occurs due to excessive stress on the adductor muscles, fascia, or the inguinal ligament that supports the groin. It is caused by sudden and rapid movements involved in jumping and running in different directions, which is why football and soccer players are susceptible to such an injury.
Groin pain is generally caused due to the tearing of muscles or ligaments in the groin region. The groin consists of ligaments, tendons, adductor muscles, and fascia around the inguinal ligament, which attaches to the pubic bone. A pulled groin ligament is caused due to a tension in the ligaments present in the groin area. Pain in the groin region generally occurs due to the partial tearing of the muscle fibers located in the adductor muscles.
These adductor muscles enable us to pull our legs together as we bend, which is why a tear in the muscle fibers causes a groin pull. Central to the groin area is the inguinal ligament, which marks the lower most fibers of the abdominal wall musculature. This ligament is attached to the pubic bone and it curls downwards as the lacunar ligament and joins the pectineal ligament. Any tension in these ligaments can cause such an injury.
Pain from a pulled groin muscle or ligament can be quite discomforting. Whenever there is overuse of adductor muscles or the groin ligaments, it might lead to micro tears in the ligaments. Sometimes, sudden jerky movements can even cause a complete rupture. Strenuous physical activities put pressure on the tendons, muscles, and ligaments. If one doesn’t perform warm-up stretches, one’s body is not prepared for that exertion. Under such circumstances, sudden jerky movements can give rise to injuries that might cause swelling and pain.
The symptoms will vary depending on degree of the groin pull. The common symptoms include:
- Tenderness and pain in the groin and inner thigh
- Pain while raising the knee
- Pain while bringing the legs together
In case of a first degree groin pull, the affected individual is likely to experience localized pain, tenderness, slight swelling, and slight difficulty in walking. In case of a second degree pull, symptoms might also include tissue damage. The affected person might experience sharp pain while carrying out any physical activity. In case of a third degree pull, the pain will be severe and debilitating. Other symptoms such as massive swelling, loss of strength and movement, and an inability to contract thigh muscles, will be experienced by the affected individual.
Since ligaments in this area could get strained due to injuries and overuse of the muscles that stretches them beyond the tolerable limit, the affected individual must take ample rest. A physical examination along with an X-ray examination will help the doctors determine the extent of damage. The recovery will be quicker in case of micro tears or partial tears. Complete rupturing of the ligament or adductor muscles requires prompt treatment, and the affected individual will take longer to recover.
Though these symptoms could appear due to a pulled groin, fracture could also cause groin pain. Several medical conditions such as swollen lymph nodes in the groin, hernia, or conditions affecting the hip, might also lead to pain in this area. So, all these possibilities need to be ruled out first. Like in case of any muscle strain, a strained ligament can be treated using the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method. Taking rest is very essential.
The doctors might prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in order to alleviate the symptoms. Applying ice packs on the affected area will also reduce the swelling to a great extent. Even when you rest, you can elevate the pulled ligament by propping it up on stacked pillows. The affected individual must refrain from performing any strenuous physical activity till the ligament heals completely. One can perform mild exercises or stretches that have been suggested by the physiotherapist to strengthen the muscles and ligaments.
Medical help must be sought by anyone who has been experiencing symptoms such as pain and tenderness in the groin. One must take ample rest, and follow the advice of the doctor in order to recover soon.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.