A groin strain is an injury that happens when you tear or overstretch (pull) a groin muscle. The groin muscles are in the area on either side of the body in the folds where the belly joins the legs. You can strain a groin muscle during exercise, such as running, skating, kicking in soccer, or playing basketball. It can happen when you lift, push, or pull heavy objects. You might pull a groin muscle when you fall. The injury can range from a minor pull to a more serious tear of the muscle.
You may feel pain and tenderness that's worse when you squeeze your legs together. You may also have pain when you raise the knee of the injured side. There may be swelling or bruising in the groin area or inner thigh. If you have a bad strain, you may walk with a limp while it heals.
Rest and other home care can help the muscle heal. Healing can take up to 3 weeks or more. Your doctor may want to see you again in 2 to 3 weeks.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
- If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
- If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
- Rest and protect your injured or sore groin area for 1 to 2 weeks. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be causing your pain or soreness. Do not do intense activities while you still have pain.
- Put ice or a cold pack on your groin area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when you are awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
- After 2 or 3 days, if your swelling is gone, apply heat. Put a warm water bottle, a heating pad set on low, or a warm cloth on your groin area. Do not go to sleep with a heating pad on your skin.
- If your doctor gave you crutches, make sure you use them as directed.
- Wear snug shorts or underwear that support the injured area.
When should you call for help?
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have new or severe pain or swelling in the groin area.
- Your groin or upper thigh is cool or pale or changes color.
- You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in your groin or leg.
- You cannot move your leg.
- You cannot put weight on your leg.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
- You do not get better as expected.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter U924 in the search box to learn more about "Groin Strain: Care Instructions".
Current as of: November 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine