Weightlifters perform squats -- an exercise in which a bar is placed across the deltoids and the athlete squats and then lifts the weight -- to strengthen several different muscle groups. Performed with weights that are too heavy, or without a sufficient warm up, this exercise can put you at risk of groin strain and other soft tissue injury. If you can't walk more than four steps without significant pain, experience numbness or notice red streaks radiating from the injury site, see your doctor.
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A groin strain, also known as a groin pull, is a bruising, stretching or tearing of the adductor muscles which run from the front of the hip bone to the inside of the thigh. These muscles bring the legs in towards the center of the body and help to stabilize the legs during all activities. A groin strain can affect not only the muscles, but also the tendons attaching the muscles to the front of the hip bones. Groin strains can be caused by overuse, exercising without a sufficient warm up, and forceful, sudden movements. Symptoms include sudden sharp pain in your groin area, and the area may be tender to the touch. Moving the hip joint may also produce pain. Swelling and inflammation usually follow within 24 hours, with swelling spreading downward. Discoloration and bruising can appear within 48 hours.
Osteitis pubis is the irritation and inflammation of the pubic symphysis, which is where your left and right pubic bones meet at the front of the pelvic girdle. Several muscles from the abdomen and groin contract in this area during exercise. Weight lifters -- along with ice skaters, runners and dancers -- are particularly prone to this injury. The primary symptom is an aching pain at the front of the public bone, but the pain can also be felt in the groin and thigh.
Both groin strains and osteitis pubis can be treated with the RICE technique. Rest from any activity which causes pain, and apply ice for 20 minutes every few hours for the first 48 hours, placing a towel between your skin and the ice. Apply a compression bandage, if practical, and elevate the leg on the injured side. Use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to treat pain and swelling, as long as you have no conditions that preclude their use. Avoid walking, jogging and running for as long as the injury causes moderate to severe pain.
Groin strains tend to reoccur, so avoiding over-training to reduce this risk. Sports Injury Bulletin recommends doing 10 minutes of easy movement before performing any strenuous exercises. Training fewer days per week, performing a lower number of squats, better nutrition and getting more sleep can help. Follow your workouts with a groin and hamstring stretch, in which you sit with your legs extended forward and to the sides as far as possible. Grasp your ankles and bring your forehead as close to the floor as you can without pain. Hold the position for 15 seconds, and repeat 10 times.