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You may have had a minor groin problem at
one time or another. Most of the time our body movements do not cause
problems. It's not surprising that symptoms may develop from everyday wear and
tear, overuse, or an injury.
groin areas are located on each side of the body in the folds where the belly
joins the legs. The pubic area lies between the two groin areas.
Groin injuries most commonly occur during:
Groin problems and injuries can cause pain and concern. Most
minor problems or injuries will heal on their own. Home treatment is usually
all that is needed to relieve symptoms and heal.
acute injury may occur from a direct blow, a stabbing
injury, a fall, or from the leg being turned in an abnormal position.
You can pull (strain) or tear
a groin muscle during exercise, such as running, skating, kicking in soccer, or
playing basketball. You can strain a groin muscle while lifting, pushing, or
pulling heavy objects. You might pull a groin muscle when you fall. A sudden pulling or
tearing of a groin muscle may cause sudden pain. A snapping sound may be heard
with hip or leg movement. Swelling and bruising can happen quickly. Sometimes
swelling and bruising do not show up for a few days after the injury.
Overuse injuries occur when too much stress is placed
on an area. This often happens when you overdo an activity or repeat the same
activity day after day. Overuse can lead to muscle strains or tears or may
cause swelling. Overuse
Groin pain not caused
by an injury to the groin may be coming from other parts of the body. This is
called radiating, or referred, pain.
tendons in the leg may cause symptoms in the groin. It
is important to look for
other causes of groin pain when you have not had an
inguinal hernia is a bulge of soft tissue through a
weak spot in the abdominal wall in the groin area.See a picture of an
inguinal hernia. An inguinal hernia may need surgical treatment. A
sports hernia may affect the same area of the groin in
Infections may cause a lump, bumps, or swelling in the groin area. Glands (lymph nodes) in the groin
may become enlarged and painful when there is an infection in the groin area. If the
infection is minor, the swelling may last a few days and go away on its own.
Rashes in the groin area have
many causes, such as
yeast. Most rashes can be treated at home.
When a child develops
groin pain, the pain may be caused by a problem with the upper part of the
thighbone (head of the femur) or the hip. Common causes of groin pain, knee
pain (referred pain from the hip), or limping include:
Check your symptoms to decide if and when
you should see a doctor.
Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind
of care you may need. These include:
Certain health conditions and medicines weaken the immune system's ability to fight off infection and
illness. Some examples in adults are:
You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be
able to take care of this problem at home.
Pain in adults and older children
Based on your answers, the problem may not improve without medical
Symptoms of infection may
Urinary symptoms may include:
Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care.
Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The
problem probably will not get better without medical care.
Home treatment measures can help
relieve pain, swelling, and bruising and promote healing after a groin injury.
These home treatment measures also may be helpful for noninjury problems.
But if you think you may have a more severe injury, use first aid measures
while you arrange to be checked by your doctor.
It may take 4 to 6 weeks or longer for a minor groin injury
Stretching and strengthening exercises will help you
gradually return to your normal activities.
Stretching exercises begin with range-of-motion exercises. These are
controlled stretches that prevent stiffness and tendon shortening. Gently bend,
straighten, and rotate your leg and hip. If you have increasing pain, slow down
or stop the exercises.
You may do strengthening exercises with light weights, such as ankle
weights, after the pain has decreased and your flexibility has improved.
Non–weight-bearing activities, such as swimming or cycling, may be
helpful depending on the seriousness of your injury. A sports medicine health
professional or trainer can advise you about fitness activities.
Talk to your child's doctor before switching back and
forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two
medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.
Home treatment measures
may also be helpful for:
Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home
The following tips may help you prevent a
groin injury or other problems in the groin area.
Steps to prevent a
groin injury or strain may include the following:
take measures to reduce your risk of becoming infected with a sexually
transmitted infection (STI). You can also reduce the risk of transmitting an STI to your sex partner. Know
high-risk behaviors and the
symptoms of STIs, and do not have sex with anyone who
has these symptoms.
Condom use may reduce the
risk of becoming infected with an STI. Condoms must be put on before beginning
any sexual contact. Use condoms with a new partner.
Try the following things to prevent
jock itch (fungal infection of the skin in the groin) or
yeast infection (cutaneous candidiasis):
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.
You can help your
doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the
If you have a rash, do not
have sexual contact or activity until you are seen by your doctor. This will
reduce the risk of transmitting a possible infection to your sex partner. If
you do have an STI, your sex partner or partners may need to be evaluated and
March 1, 2013
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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