A pulled groin muscle is a significant injury for an athlete, and it can remove them from the game for a period of time for recovery. About 5-18% of sports injuries impact the groin region, and they occur most often in ice hockey and soccer athletes because of the particular muscle movement required in those sports.6,3 If you’re an athlete or simply play a lot of sports, it’s important to know what to do for a pulled groin until you can get medical help, and during the recovery period.
How long does a pulled groin last? That depends in the severity of the pulled groin muscle symptoms and the nature of the injury. The groin region of the body involves a number of different body parts and systems including the gynaecological, urogenital, gastrointestinal, neurological and musculoskeletal regions.3 The most common injury is to one or more of the six hip adductors.1 The majority of the time, if the athlete takes time out to rest, they should be ready to resume normal activities within a few weeks. However, there are more severe cases of pulled groin where recovery time could take six weeks or longer.5
Pulled Groin Symptoms
What does a pulled groin feel like? The symptoms can be more or less severe depending on the nature and the seriousness of the injury. They include pain in the region surrounding the groin and inner thigh, pain if you try to close your legs, and pain if you try to raise your knee.5 There will also be significant swelling and bruising to the area.2
Did I Pull my Groin?
The signs of a pulled groin are fairly obvious, so you shouldn’t have any trouble figuring out the nature of your injury. Pulled groins happen when you’re either running or jumping, or when someone cuts you off mid run or jump. At the moment the injury occurs, you’ll hear an audible cracking noise followed by debilitating pain.5 After that point you’ll likely be unable move or walk without pain. Your upper legs will suddenly feel very weak. This is the point where you should get to a medical practitioner right away, without damaging the area further by trying to walk.2
How to Treat a Pulled Groin
Naturally, you should go see a medical professional as soon as possible following the injury. Pulled groin treatment for the first 48 hours is the standard RICE = Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, combined with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs your doctor will prescribe for you. Massage is also considered a helpful treatment for this type of injury. After this period immediately following the injury, there are some exercises for pulled groin muscles that are highly recommended by medical practitioners. This may involve several components, such as a program designed to develop your flexibility, retraining in skating techniques, exercises that strengthen your adduction muscles and strength, as well as more standard exercises like lunges, squats on a balance board and multiplane trunk tilting.6
Pulled Groin Recovery Time
How long does a pulled groin take to heal? Groin injuries are divided into four grades, depending on the severity of the trauma.4 Recovery time will depend entirely on what grade of injury you have. Grade 0 is a clinical acute injury with no other abnormalities detected. It won’t take long to recover from this injury, from a few days to a couple of weeks is the norm. When the groin muscle has incurred a stretch or tear, the injury is classed as grade 1. You can still walk with this level of damage, but running or jumping may be a problem. You will likely recover in a couple of weeks from this type of damage. A grade 2 injury involves a significant tear to many of the muscle fibers, after which you’ll have difficulty walking or closing your legs together. Recovery time could be from 2-6 weeks. With a grade 3 injury, all of the majority of the groin muscle fibers and tendons have been badly damaged. This type of injury could take weeks or even months to heal, and you won’t be able to move the area at all without feeling severe pain.2
Preventing a Pulled Groin
Prevention training is often implemented in sports in order to decrease the possibility of players receiving a groin injury during the season. Training and developing the adductor muscles during the preseason is one such program that’s been successfully implemented with some hockey and soccer teams.1 This type of training is essential for sports teams, particularly those that are on a professional level. They prevent injuries which would end up costing the team several players who would otherwise be in recovery, as well as significant costs. In addition, once a player has injured the groin area, they become more susceptible to getting another injury in the area in future. There’s also a chance the injury could become a chronic problem.1 To get the most out of training, many athletes choose to incorporate supplements like multivitamins, to ensure they are getting enough nutrients, and natural testosterone support products like HexoFire Delta Prime.
A study done by Esteve, et al in 2015 carried out a groin injury prevention program with football and handball players involving stretches and exercises to the area. The researchers found that there was a 19% reduction in injuries to the groin area overall for the athletes who participated in the program.1
During the 2004 Major League Soccer season, a 20-minute stretching and warm up routine was developed for the players for the purpose of groin injury prevention. The exercises carried out included dynamic stretching, core strengthening, and pelvic proprioceptive exercises. One group of professional male athletes followed this program, while a control group did the regular warm-up that they were accustomed to doing. The results indicated that the intervention group had a 28% reduction in groin injures during the season, in comparison with the men in the control group.6
Any athlete should carry out adductor stretches and exercises on their own as well, throughout the year. Particularly make sure to perform this exercise routine before a game. Stretching out the muscles will go a long way towards preventing them from incurring an injury during the game.2
- 1Esteve E, Rathleff MS, Bagur-Calafat C, et al (2015). Prevention of groin injuries in sports: a systematic review with meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Br J Sports Med, 49, 785-791. Retrieved online at https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/12/785
- 2Marcin, Judith, MD. (August 15, 2017). Groin Strain. Healthline. Retrieved online at View Reference
- 3Serner A, van Eijck CH, Beumer BR, et al (2015). Study quality on groin injury management remains low: a systematic review on treatment of groin pain in athletes. Br J Sports Med, 49, 813. Retrieved online at https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/49/12/813
- 4Serner, A. & Jomaah, N. (2018) Acute Groin Injuries. Aspetar Sports Medicine, 308-313. Retrieved online http://www.aspetar.com/journal/viewarticle.aspx?id=156#.XBSQamhKg2w
- 5Summit Medical Group (2014). Groin Strain. McKesson Corporation. Retrieved online at View Reference
- 6Tyler, T. F., Silvers, H. J., Gerhardt, M. B., & Nicholas, S. J. (2010). Groin injuries in sports medicine. Sports health, 2(3), 231-6. Retrieved online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3445110/