What is a pulled Groin?
A pulled groin, also known as a groin strain, is an injury to the muscles on the front of the hip (hip flexors) or the inside of the hip (hip adductors). This injury is commonly associated with sporting activities like skating, playing hockey (especially goaltenders), soccer, or football. However, it can happen with any movement that causes the hip to move either backwards into extension or laterally into abduction too forcefully or too quickly (even repeated forceful coughing can bring this on!) . I recently managed to do this to myself by slipping on ice, and in an effort to prevent a fall (which I did!) I contracted ALL of the muscles of my hip at once, resulting in a groin pull (or, more technically a strain).
Signs/Symptoms of a Groin Pull:
-Pain/Tenderness in the area of the groin and inner thigh
-Pain bringing your legs together
-Pain when you raise your knee (pulling your knee toward your chest)
-Pain going up stairs (especially when lifting affected leg up to the next step)
-Popping/Snapping felt at time of injury in this area
-Bruising in affected area (usually only in more severe cases)
-Pain doing explosive hip movements (like jumping, sprinting, running), or pain with rapid change of direction
Diagnosis of a Groin Pull:
-Most of the diagnosis is made based on the history and location of pain
-During a physical exam, tight and tender muscles may be felt in the area of groin or inner thigh
-Most times imaging is not necessary, however in more severe cases or cases that are not resolving imaging (MRI) may be valuable to determine the extent of the injury
Treatment of a Groin Pull
-Relative Rest. Avoiding painful movements while staying active in other ways is permissible here
-Ice affected area.
- Gently stretch affected muscles (hip flexors and hip adductors)
-Strengthen affected muscles (hip flexors and hip adductors)
-Active Release Technique to affected muscles (this will help stretch out and facilitate healing better than stretching on your own)
-Mobilization to the Hip Joint. Yes, a groin pull is primarily a muscle issue, however often the joint itself gets tight from surrounding muscles being tight. Your Chiropractor can mobilize this joint to help the muscles heal!
-Laser Therapy. This is a powerful way to help reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation while encouraging a faster recovery.
-Athletic Taping to keep the hip out of pain provoking ranges of motion (especially with more severe injury)
Groin pulls have a real tendency (especially in athletes) to become a 'nagging' type of injury. Ensuring you get appropriate care for these injuries early on can help ensure you are back in the game faster, and ensure you are set up with a proper strength/conditioning program to prevent this injury from holding you back again! Dr. Elaine Screaton, Chiropractor in NW Calgary is able to complete a full examination and recommend appropriate treatment for groin pull injuries to get you out of pain!
Dr. Elaine Screaton (DC, BSc) is a NW Calgary Chiropractor currently practicing at Synergea Family Health Centre in Calgary, AB.