June 8, 2018

What is a pulled groin?

Hip | Sports Injury

This post is part of The Ultimate Guide to Sports Medicine

A groin pull or groin strain is a common injury among athletes, especially those who participate in sports that require running and jumping.


There are five groin muscles (three short adductors and two long adductors). The muscle group functions to pull the leg back toward the middle and stabilize the pelvis during movement.

Three stages of groin pain severity:

  • 1st degree: Mild, usually heals quickly with little loss of strength and movement
  • 2nd degree: Moderate, heals over a longer period of time with moderate strength loss and some bruising
  • 3rd degree: Severe pain, may take months to heal with severe loss of strength and function and bruising

What is the cause of groin pain?

  • Groin and thigh muscle suddenly takes on too much weight
  • Muscle stretched beyond its ability
  • Changing direction while sprinting

What are the risks of developing groin pain?

  • Muscle imbalance
  • Poor conditioning
  • Muscle tightness
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Growing children

What are the symptoms of a pulled groin?

  • Popping or snapping feeling during the injury
  • Severe pain
  • Pain and tenderness in the groin and inside of the thigh
  • Pain when raising your knee
  • Pain when bringing your legs together

How is a pulled groin diagnosed?

To determine whether you have a groin pull, your physician will ask you for a complete medical history, ask questions about your pain and how long you have been experiencing your symptoms and conduct a physical examination. An X-ray will be required and an MRI may be necessary to rule out other injuries.

Make an appointment with an OrthoIndy sports medicine specialist

How do you treat a pulled groin?

Typically treatment for a pulled groin is non-surgical and includes:

  • Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation (RICE)
  • Activity modification or immobilization: Such as avoiding activities that worsen symptoms
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen
  • Home exercises to strengthen muscles
  • Physical therapy to increase strength and flexibility
  • Crutches may be required for severe injuries

In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary but is very rare. If the muscle is completely torn, surgery may be necessary to return to normal movement. However, even in severe pulls, non-surgical methods have proven successful in returning a patient to their normal lifestyle.

How do you recover from a pulled groin?

  • Avoid the activity that caused your injury until advised by your health care professional
  • Condition muscles with exercise
  • Warm up before exercise or sports activity
  • Cool down after exercise or sports activity
  • If you feel pain, stop immediately and let muscles heal completely before returning to sports

Minor strains can take two to four weeks to recover. More severe injuries may take several months to fully recover to pre-injury activity levels.

Learn more about sports medicine treatment at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000
Megan Golden

By Megan Golden

Megan Golden worked at OrthoIndy from 2012 to 2019, where she wrote a variety of content for our blog, magazines and inbound campaigns. Megan graduated from Ball State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising and communications studies minor.

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