Pain is unpleasant — and a groin pull is particularly so, because you can feel it with every step. A groin strain encompasses a partial tear of the small fibers of the adductor muscles, Berkshire Healthcare explains on its website. You should never attempt to self-diagnose or self-treat an injury, so consult your doctor if pain in your inner thigh persists or worsens.
What's a Groin Pull?
The adductors are comprised of three muscles —adductor magnus, longus and brevis. The adductors originate on your pelvis and run down your inner thigh, attaching to the inner side of your knee. These muscles help stabilize your pelvis and leg in standing, and move your thigh in toward your body when you foot is off the ground.
Certain movements and use of your muscles can result in a groin pull or strain. A fairly common cause is stretching your adductor muscles too vigorously. Not warming up before prior to exercise is risky; if you stress your muscles before they are ready, you are more likely to suffer an injury. Muscular overuse or a direct injury caused by a fall or trauma can also case tears in the muscle fibers.
Locate the Problem
What might feel like a groin pull or strain can actually be the result of other types of injuries, according to an October 2015 study published by Muscle, Ligaments and Tendons Journal. Some hip problems result in groin pain, as do femoral neck stress fractures, and fracture of the pubic ramus, or pubic bone. If you have nerve entrapment that begins in your back, you may have symptoms in your groin and thigh. This typically causes a burning-type pain as well as numbness and tingling sensations.
Certain types of fractures that cause inner thigh pain are common in athletes who participate in jumping, kicking, sprinting and hurdling sports. They are called avulsion fractures and occur when the tendon pulls away from the bone. Osteitis is a condition — more common in women than men — that causes inflammation of cartilage in the pelvis, which produces pain. Myositis ossificans, or muscle calcification, can develop following trauma to your muscles. It is not common, but it most often affects football players, notably in the thigh area.
Read more: Common Groin Injuries from Sports
Groin Strain Treatment
Groin strain treatment for minor injuries often includes rest from aggravating activities and over-the-counter medications. Apply ice to the area for 10 to 20 minutes, several times per day to help reduce pain and swelling for the first two days after a muscle pull. By day three, you can switch to heat. Resume activities slowly, avoiding anything that increases your pain.
If it is your adolescent son or daughter who plays sports and is complaining of groin and leg pain, the injury could actually be a stress fracture. When these types of fractures are not properly identified and managed, surgery may be necessary. Some injuries require an MRI or other type of imaging to determine an accurate diagnosis. Consult a doctor if there is any question regarding the actual cause of the symptoms.