To understand the causes of groin pain it is important to first understand the anatomy. The region of your hip between your thigh and stomach is known as the groin area. This area marks the meeting point of, the inner and upper thigh and lower abdomen and the beginning of your legs. It comprises five muscles that work in coordination for the movement of the leg. These groin muscles are known as:
- adductor Magnus
- adductor brevis
- adductor longus
Groin pain typically occurs due to an injury because of physical activity, like sports. Muscle strain in the groin region is among the most prevalent injuries in athletes.
What’s the cause of your groin pain?
Pain in the groin area is a symptom that can commonly happen to anyone. This can also lead to walking difficulties such as limping. The more common and less common potential causes of groin pain are discussed below.
More prevalent causes:
The most prevalent source of groin pain is groin strain, strains of thigh muscles, tendons, or ligaments. A 2019 study notes that this type of pain is commonly found in athletes. Playing contact sports, such as rugby, hockey, or football, predisposes the player to groin pain at some point in life. Other causes also include overstretching of the inner thigh muscles.
An inguinal hernia is one more common source of groin pain. Inguinal hernia is the condition in which the tissues of the intestine push into a weak spot through the muscles in the groin area. Thus, creating a protruding lump in the groin region, causing pain.
Other common causes of groin pain comprise kidney stones. These are minor, hard deposits of minerals within the bladder and kidneys. Symptoms of kidney stones include nausea, vomiting, pain in the labia in females, and testicular pain in males. In addition, bone fractures can also lead to groin pain. Hip osteonecrosis can also cause a dull ache in the groin. This occurs due to a lack of oxygen as a result of reduced blood supply in the bone cells of the hip.
Less prevalent causes:
The conditions and disorders that less commonly cause groin pain or discomfort include the following:
- testicular inflammation
- intestinal inflammation
- enlarged lymph nodes
- labral tears (soft tissue injury in the hip joint)
- pinched nerves
- ovarian cysts
- osteoarthritis of the hip (hip arthritis)
- urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Diagnosis of groin pain
In most cases, groin pain and hip problems do not need medical care as they heal independently.
The healthcare provider should be visited if the pain becomes severe and prolonged, along with the occurrence of swelling or fever. Your doctor will first do your physical examination and look at your symptoms. Swelling, pain, and fever can indicate a more serious underlying cause. Your physician will ask you about your recent physical activity and assess your symptoms. Your recent history will help your provider make an accurate diagnosis of your condition. Next, a physical examination of the groin region will be performed, accompanied by other necessary tests.
In men, the healthcare provider will insert a finger into the sac that comprises the testicles, called the scrotum, and you’ll be asked to cough. This would increase the pressure inside the abdomen, pushing your intestines into the opening of the hernia.
X-ray and ultrasound
Other sources of groin pain such as a testicular mass, ovarian cyst or bone fracture can be examined and identified, if any, through x-rays and ultrasounds.
Complete blood count (CBC)
A blood test to picture all the contents in the blood is done to determine if there is an infection.
Treatment for groin pain
Your doctor will prescribe your treatment for groin pain depending upon the cause. Minor strains can be treated at home. However, severe conditions may need medical attention.
Management at home is the best option if the underlying cause of your hip pain is strain. Reducing physical activity and resting for a couple of weeks will encourage natural healing of your strain, especially as sports medicine for athletes.
If home care remedies don’t help relieve your symptoms, your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce inflammation and soothe your symptoms. In case of medications also do not work for you and you still experience recurring strain injuries, your doctor may advise you of physical therapy (physiotherapy).
Treatment options for relieving pain include medications such as ibuprofen or Tylenol (acetaminophen). The application of ice packs for about 20 minutes several times a day can ease your pain.
If your healthcare provider suspects you have a urinary tract infection, you might be given antibiotics.
If your cause of pain is groin injury like a stress fracture or a broken bone, a surgical procedure would be needed for bone repair. Surgery might also be needed if your underlying cause is an inguinal hernia.
The hamstring tendons have a poor blood supply, which is why they can struggle to heal on their own. It is the oxygen and nutrients in our blood supply that helps to heal tendons.
Prolotherapy involves the injection of a regenerative solution into the tendon to provide a direct supply of what is required to heal and repair.
As the treatment is helping to treat the root cause of the problem, it is deemed to be a permanent fix.
When to contact your doctor?
Refer to your doctor if you have moderate to severe pain in the groin region or testicles, which is unrelieved even after a few days.
In case you experience any of the following signs and symptoms, immediately talk to your doctor for advice.
- Physical alterations in the testicles, like swelling or lumps
- Blood in urine
- Radiating lower back pain, lower abdomen or chest
- The feeling of nausea or development of fever
- Sudden onset of severe testicular pain
In case of experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above in your groin, immediately seek emergency medical attention.
Such symptoms may suggest more serious medical conditions, like twisted testicles (testicular torsion) or epididymitis.
Preventing groin pain
Some steps can be taken to prevent groin pain. Athletes can avoid injury by gentle stretching. Opting for a steady warm-up prior to strong physical activity may help diminish the risk of a groin injury, particularly when practiced consistently.
In order to prevent hernia, you need to maintain an optimal weight and avoid or be careful with lifting heavy objects.
Homecare for groin pain
Be in touch with a doctor for groin and hip pain. You may begin your treatment at home, particularly for minor musculoskeletal injuries (orthopaedics) such as bursitis, muscle strain, tendinitis, or hip impingement.
Following are some at-home treatments that can help:
- Rest – Avoid using your injured or sore area as much as possible for a few weeks, giving it time to heal.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – Over-the-counter NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen or may help to decrease inflammation and pain.
- Ice – Applying heat or ice packs to the concerned area for small periods can diminish pain and promote healing.
- Stretching – Mild physical therapy exercises or stretching may also reduce pain.
In case you are not showing improvement in your symptoms, your physician may suggest a cortisone shot in order to decrease inflammation.
Arthroscopic surgery might be needed for the repair of severe injuries or tears.
Your physician might also suggest physiotherapy for strengthening your muscles and improving your hip joint’s range of motion.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I be concerned about groin pain?
You should be concerned about your groin pain if it does not improve with home treatment in a couple of days or if you have an irregularity expanding in or around a gonad. Accompanying complications, like fever, rapid breathing, and vomiting, also ask for your concern. These side effects might show a more difficult condition.
What is the most common cause of groin pain?
The most widely recognized reason for groin pain is a muscle, ligament, or tendon strain, especially in athletes who play sports like hockey, soccer, and football. Other typical causes include breaks, tears in the ligament, and joint pain. Hernias, kidney stones, and bone circumstances may cause this pain. Groin pain could happen following a physical issue, or pain could come on slowly over weeks or even months.
How do you treat groin pain?
To treat groin pain, you should first rest the area and avoid any physical activities requiring extensive movement. Other measures that you can take include:
- Ice within your thigh to diminish pain. Specialists prescribe doing it for 20 to 30 minutes each 3 to 4 hours until the pain is no more.
- Pack your thigh utilizing a versatile gauze.
- Take painkillers.
What can cause pain in the groin area of a woman?
Groin pain is quite normal in women and can have various causes. Potential reasons for pain in the groin region include a pulled muscle, ovarian growth, urinary parcel contamination, and osteoarthritis. (OA). The most common reason for pain in the groin is a tear or overextended muscle in the leg. Groin pain can likewise be connected with pregnancy.
Can sitting down too much cause groin pain?
If you’re sitting for 2-3 hours at once, this might promote a touch of solidness when you stand up and take a walk or may promote some squeezing in the groin when you go outside for a more extended walk. At times, hip pain from joint inflammation or another issue can transmit to your groin. It gradually constructs and may feel more terrible while driving or sitting in a low seat.
What is groin pain a symptom of?
Groin pain may have different causes, which may indicate the possibility of various health conditions. Mostly, it indicates hip injury or osteoarthritis. It may also be associated with nerves or may have a testicular origin. Once in a while, it may specify some kind of tumour or infection.
- Smith M W. Why Does My Groin Hurt? WebMD. Sept, 2020. https://www.webmd.com
- Asomugha E U. Causes of Groin Pain and Treatment Options. Very well health. Nov, 2021. https://www.verywellhealth.com/
- Morrison W. What Causes Groin Pain and How to Treat It. Healthline. April, 2019. https://www.healthline.com/
Bell A M. What can cause groin pain? Medical News Today. Jul, 2020. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/