Don't let your morning run get cut short by pain in your upper thigh or groin. Pain in this area is more than likely the result of a muscle strain and, thankfully, this type of injury usually heals after a few days of rest. In rare cases, pain in the groin and inner thigh can be a sign of a more serious injury like a muscle tear or a sports hernia. Because a strained or torn muscle is prone to re-injury, it's important to treat the affected area before you get back out there for another run.
Inner Thigh Muscles
Your groin and inner thigh contain a cluster of muscles that are all critical to a runner's stride. Pain in the inner thigh or groin is most likely centralized in the adductor muscles, which run from your hips to your knees along the inside of your leg.
Groin pain may also occur in the oblique muscles in the lower abdomen. In more serious injury cases, it's possible to strain both of these muscle groups at once. Injuries to these muscles are common in sprinters, and can occur for trail runners during a twisting motion or a sudden change of direction.
Strains occur when a muscle group is pulled or stretched beyond its maximum, and usually occurs where muscles meet the tendons that attach them to your skeleton. Muscle strains or tightness in the groin and inner thigh can be mild to moderate, and is usually remedied by simply taking time out from your daily running routine. You can ice the affected area a few times a day until pain subsides. As you rest, your body will rebuild the torn muscles, and you'll be back to normal.
Read More: Exercises for Pulled Groin Muscles
Muscle Tears and Sports Hernias
More serious injuries such muscle tears are usually indicated by swelling, bruising, muscle spasms and severe pain. These indicators usually necessitate a visit to a physical therapist or a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. In some cases, these symptoms can indicate a sports hernia or athletic pubalgia, a specific soft tissue injury that occurs in the groin. This term refers to a range of injuries, and can affect the oblique muscles or the tendons that anchor them.
Bouncing Back from Injury
With any running injury, a few rest days can be the best treatment. If you're experiencing pain in your groin or inner thighs, take a break and allow the muscles and tendons in this area to heal.
More serious injuries like a sports hernia or muscle tear may require physical therapy to fully heal. Because these types of injuries are especially vulnerable to re-injury, you'll want to take care of it completely before you start your normal exercise routine again. This gives you your best shot at a total recovery, letting you run pain-free.
Read More: Treatments for a Sore Groin After Running