Groin pain is most often caused by a strain of the groin muscles. Depending on the cause of the injury, you could also be diagnosed with a sports hernia. This is common for athletes, who are often required to perform forceful movements that involve kicking, running, and jumping. Other common causes of groin injuries include climbing, lifting heavy objects, or even slipping during a walk. Physical therapists can help diagnose and create a treatment plan for groin injury recovery.
How Does Groin Pain Feel?
Depending on the severity of the strain, groin pain can feel like:
- Pain and/or tenderness on the inside of the thigh
- Pain when raising your knee
- Pain when bringing your legs together
- Severe pain that follows a popping noise
Stages of Groin Strain
Groin strain is categorized in different grades depending on the severity of the muscle damage.
- Grade 1- Groin pain symptoms may not be fully realized until the completion of the activity. Any damage or tears in the muscle are mild. The muscle will maintain its normal strength but may feel tight and or slightly painful during contraction or stretching. This groin injury recovery can be fairly quick as long as the muscles aren’t reinjured.
- Grade 2- Groin pain will be felt immediately upon injury. More tenderness and pain are experienced and limping is often seen when walking. Bruising can occur below the injury site due to torn capillaries. With a proper groin pull recovery program, a grade two groin injury recovery can take two to six weeks.
- Grade 3- A grade three groin tear is a rare occurrence, and this tear can involve the complete rupture of the muscle fibers. A divot in the muscle may also be visible. There can be a stabbing or burning sensation at the time of injury, and a “popping” noise may be heard. At this point, groin pain is severe and you’ll be unable to walk without intense pain. Groin injury recovery can require a couple of months of healing time followed by two to three months of rehabilitation to restore strength and function. In extremely rare cases, surgery could be required.
How is Groin Pain Diagnosed?
A physical therapist will conduct an evaluation that includes taking a medical history and discussing your symptoms. Your therapist will perform an examination to discover where the injury is located, as well as:
- Visible signs like swelling or bruising
- Visible divots in the muscle
- Palpation to find active inflammation
- Test muscle strength and flexibility
- Walking, climbing, and other movements are impacted
- Check to see if back or other muscles are involved
How Do Physical Therapists Treat Groin Pain?
Treatment can depend on the extent of the injury, but generally starts with rest and then follows with rehabilitation exercises once the tear or strain has begun to heal. For treatment, recommendations can include:
- Icing your thigh with an ice pack for 20 minutes every three to four hours
- Use of anti-inflammatory medications as directed by your provider
- Using compression shorts or a thigh wrap or tape to add in support
- Manual therapy to reduce spasms and tension
- Light stretching and gentle exercises will be added to start restoring range of motion and muscle strength
- As the groin pull recovery plan progresses more exercises with weights and equipment can be added
- Before you return to normal activities, your physical therapist may check how you performed the motion that precipitated the injury to see if other muscles need to be strengthened to prevent re-injury.
- Surgery may be required in severe cases.
Groin Injury Recovery
The average groin injury recovery time averages around 4-6 weeks but depends on the severity of the injury and treatment plan. You’ll know your groin pull injury is starting to heal when:
- Your leg can move freely and feels equally strong to your non-injured leg.
- You stop feeling groin pain when you walk.
- You are able to gently increase your physical activity from walking to running and jumping.
It’s important not to push yourself too hard during groin injury recovery, as incorporating too much physical activity too fast may pull muscles to tear again. It’s harder to recover with additional strain, so take it easy and follow the recommendations of your physical therapist.
Begin Groin Pull Recovery With Impact Physical Therapy
Schedule an appointment at one of the many IMPACT Physical Therapy locations today to begin the evaluation for your groin pain. Our physical therapists will create a groin injury recovery plan that will get you back to your favorite activities as quickly as possible!