man gripping his quad in pain

Common Groin Strains and Injuries

What is Groin Strain? 

The groin is a complex network of bone, muscles, and several other soft tissues and organs in the lower abdomen, upper thighs, and urogenital area. Due to the groins' interconnected nature and crucial role in providing the connection points for several other major muscles, it is prone to injury, especially during sports or acute injury events. The most common groin injury is a strain. A groin strain is a tear in the muscles of the groin or the tendons that connect muscles to the bone in the groin area. In most cases, damage to more than one structure is potentially the cause of groin strain or injury. The most common form of a groin strain is adductor strain, tearing in the muscles and tendons on the inside of the thighs. 

Types of Groin Injuries?

There are a variety of injuries that can occur in the groin area. An adductor strain, as mentioned before, is by far the most common form of a groin injury. Some other common injuries include avulsion fracture, for example, the separation of tendons from their connection to the bone; osteitis pubis, a form of joint inflammation; stress fracture, the gradual cracking of bones due to continued stress or pressure; several varieties of hernia, or growth plate injuries. Groin pain can come from any of the sources mentioned, and groin injuries are often difficult to self-diagnose due to the density and complexity of groin structures. If experiencing any chronic groin pain, it's suggested that you pay a visit to the doctor or sports medicine professional for diagnosis. 

Groin Injuries in Athletes 

Athletes are prone to groin strains and other related injuries due to the intensity and quick changes involved in their movements while playing their respective sports and training. Three primary causes of groin injury are excessive stress, usually due to repetitive movements, like quick stopping, or changing direction in the lower body, without proper rest and recovery in between activities. Another cause is blunt force trauma which can occur during a football tackle or a hockey hit. All three of these situations occur relatively often in intense physical exercise found in many training regimens for athletes. Sports like ice hockey, soccer, football, and rugby are just a few contributors to groin injuries for athletes. 

Common Cases

The most common form of groin injury is an adductor strain involving tendons and muscles on the inner thigh. This section of the thigh is made up of several muscles associated with pulling your leg inwards, the largest being the adductor longus, a common site for strains to occur. Most adductor strains happen when the legs are spread apart quickly due to a fall, a change in direction, or some cases, trauma to the groin via an outside force. 

Another common form of groin injury is Snapping Hip Syndrome or SHS. SHS occurs when a tendon or ligament catches on the ilium (hip bone) during movement and causes a snapping or popping sound, sometimes accompanied by pain. This issue can be somewhat debilitating, especially for people involved in lots of physical activity or sports. There are several types of SHS to include external, internal extra-articular, and internal intra-articular. The specific form can be hard to self-diagnose, in most cases of SHS, muscle tightness or an imbalance exists, and with a bit of rest and oversight from your doctor, you can look forward to a quick recovery and exercises or stretches to regain a more balanced groin. 

Osteitis pubis is another very common groin injury, especially for athletes. This condition is associated with pain and inflammation in the pelvic bone, specifically the bones and soft tissue that are a part of the pubic symphysis joint that connects the two sides of the pelvis. Osteitis pubis can occur gradually or all at once during an acute injury but is often attributed to repetitive stress and overuse. The primary distinguisher between this condition and groin strain, such as an adductor strain is that osteitis pubis hurts most when sitting, as opposed to moving.  

How Does it Feel?

Groin injuries can vary significantly in their respective health effects and symptoms, but most share several similar traits. One of these traits is pain - especially in the groin and lower abdomen, at times only occurring when touched or compressed. Swelling, bruising, and stiffness can also be signs of a groin injury. Severe groin injuries can cause disruption or malalignment in hip joints, leading to joint malfunction. Finally, if experiencing pain in the genitals, this can be a sign of a hernia, another kind of groin injury. 


Like any muscular injury, the most important thing to remember for groin strain prevention and other injuries is always to stretch and warm up. When performing an exercise, our muscles are put in states of relaxation and tension, stretching and twisting in various directions. Naturally, some injuries can occur due to these complex movements; however, when muscles are properly stretched and warmed up, they gain elasticity and flexibility, significantly reducing the chance that tears occur, like in the case of sprains and strains. Some groin injuries happen over time from overuse, so it is just as essential to prioritize rest as a part of your sports, exercise, or health training regime. Finally, if you're experiencing groin pain or other symptoms of a groin injury, try avoiding further injury by getting off your feet, icing the affected area, and consider contacting a medical professional if symptoms continue.



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