What is groin strain?

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Groin strain: Overview

A groin strain is an injury that happens when you tear or overstretch (pull) a groin muscle. The groin muscles are in the area on either side of the body in the folds where the belly joins the legs. You can strain a groin muscle during exercise, such as running, skating, kicking in soccer, or playing basketball. It can happen when you lift, push, or pull heavy objects. You might pull a groin muscle when you fall. The injury can range from a minor pull to a more serious tear of the muscle.

You may feel pain and tenderness that's worse when you squeeze your legs together. You may also have pain when you raise the knee of the injured side. There may be swelling or bruising in the groin area or inner thigh. If you have a bad strain, you may walk with a limp while it heals.

Rest and other home care can help the muscle heal. Healing can take up to 3 weeks or more. Your doctor may want to see you again in 2 to 3 weeks.

How can you care for your child's groin strain?

  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Have your child rest and protect the injured or sore groin area for 1 to 2 weeks. Your child should stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be causing pain or soreness. Do not let your child do intense activities while your child still has pain.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your child's groin area for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when your child is awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
  • After 2 or 3 days, if the swelling is gone, apply heat. Put a warm water bottle or a warm cloth on your child's groin area. Put a thin cloth between the warm water bottle and your child's skin.
  • If your doctor gave your child crutches, make sure that your child uses them as directed.
  • Have your child wear snug shorts or underwear that support the injured area.

Groin strain: When to call

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or severe pain or swelling in the groin area.
  • Your groin or upper thigh is cool or pale or changes color.
  • You have tingling, weakness, or numbness in your groin or leg.
  • You cannot move your leg.
  • You cannot put weight on your leg.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.