Groin Strain: Causes and Treatment Options
A groin strain happens when you overextend or tear a muscle in the region of the groin. This is frequently as a result of jumping, running, or abrupt change in direction. Most susceptible are rugby players and footballers.
While the swelling may be reduced with an ice pack, this is an injury that requires rest to heal, even if matches have to be missed.
Symptoms of a groin strain
The most obvious symptoms are pain and tenderness in the groin and inside thigh; you will feel pain when raising your knee; you will feel pain when bringing your legs together; you may actually experience the sensation of popping or snapping when you incur the injury which will be followed by severe pain.
The least severe groin strain will have some pain but minimal loss of movement or strength. The more severe injury will have some pain and some tissue damage; whereas the worst will have pain, less function and a completely ripped muscle. A complete examination will be needed and possibly x-rays and an MRI to ensure there is no other problem.
Treatment for a groin strain
Given time and rest, a groin strain will usually heal on its own. However, the application of ice inside the thigh may reduce pain and swelling – for approximately 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days or until you are pain free. You may also wish to try an elastic bandage to compress the thigh. Be careful, anti-inflammatory painkillers may have side effects and should only be used occasionally unless prescribed. Finally, your doctor may recommend some stretching and strengthening exercises.
Although the measures mentioned above will usually prove successful, surgery may be required if the injury has not repaired itself after six months. This, though, should be a last option as some may not be able to return to their previous level of activity afterwards.
Is it better?
Everyone wants to get back to their active lifestyle as quickly as they can, but a groin strain will take its own time to heal. It is dependent upon the severity of the damage and how well you heal.
While convalescing, it’s worth trying activities such as swimming that put little stress on the groin muscles. You must be patient and remember the tortoise and the hare. You will be able to recommence your previous activities when you can move both legs equally freely and easily; when both legs feel equally strong; when there is no pain when jumping, sprinting, jogging and walking.
Prevention of groin strain
Remember, to prevent is better than to cure. So, always stretch before and after physical activity; wear shoes that fit well and offer good support; increase the intensity of physical activity slowly; stop exercising if you feel pain or tightness in the groin or inside of the thigh; do regular strengthening exercises for your thigh muscles, especially if you’ve already suffered a groin injury.
Finally, consider the use of supplements – many athletes draw on their preventative effect. Supplements help to maintain healthy tissue which then helps to prevent injury when exercising.