What are groin pulls and strains?
Groin pulls and strains are injuries to the muscles and tendons in the area of the groin where the abdomen meets the thigh. The muscles and tendons and their attached bones comprise contractile units which stabilize the pelvis and allow its motion. A strain in this area occurs at a unit’s weakest part.
There are three types of groin strains:
- A mild or “grade I” strain, which is a slightly pulled muscle without tearing of muscle or tendon fibers. There is no loss of strength.
- A moderate or “grade II” strain, which is a tearing of fibers in a muscle or tendon or at the attachment to the bone. Strength is diminished.
- A severe or grade III strain, which is a rupture of the muscle tendon-bone attachment, with separation of fibers. A severe strain may require surgical repair.
Chronic strains are caused by overuse. Acute strains are caused by direct injury or over-stress.
The specific body parts involved are the tendons and muscles of the groin area, including abdominal, pelvic and thigh muscles like the external oblique, Lliac Crest, Gluteus Maximus, Sartorius, Lliopsoas and Pectineus. The bones of the groin area involved are the pelvis, spine and upper leg bone or femur. There are also soft tissues surrounding the strain, including nerves, periosteum (covering of bone), blood vessels and lymph vessels.
The signs and symptoms of a groin strain are: (1) pain in the groin with motion or stretching of the leg at the hip joint, (2) muscle spasms in the abdomen or thigh, (3) swelling in the groin, loss of strength (moderate or severe strain), and (4) calcification of a muscle or its tendon (visible with x-ray). These injuries are generally caused by prolonged overuse of muscle tendon units in the groin or a single violent injury or force applied to the groin muscle-tendon unit.
The risk of sustaining a groin injury increases with contact sports, sports that require quick starts, such as the start of a race. Obesity, poor nutrition, previous groin injuries or poor conditioning also increase the risk. The likelihood of sustaining a groin injury can be decreased by participating in a strengthening, flexibility and conditioning program appropriate for your sport or athletic activity and by properly warming up before practice or competition.
The appropriate health care for a groin strain is a doctor’s diagnosis, your own self-care during rehabilitation, proper physical therapy (for moderate or severe strain), or surgery for a severe strain. The condition is most commonly diagnosed through your own observation of symptoms, your medical history and exam by a doctor and x-rays of the injured hip, thigh and pelvis to rule out possible fractures.
Some possible complications can be (1) prolonged healing time if activity is resumed too soon, (2) proneness to repeated injury, (3) an unstable or arthritic hip following repeated injury, (4) inflammation at the attachment to bone (periostitis); or less frequently, prolonged disability, especially weakness.
With a first-time injury, proper care and sufficient healing time before resuming activity should prevent permanent disability. The average healing times are:
- Mild strain – 2 to 10 days
- Moderate strain – 10 days to 6 weeks
- Severe strain – 6 to 10 weeks.
The complications listed above are more likely to occur in the case of repeated injuries.
Treatment should consist of following your doctor’s instructions. Some supplemental first aids are the “R.I.C.E.” instructions: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation (if possible).
It is helpful, as continuing care, to use ice massage 3 or 4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time. Fill a large styrofoam cup with water and freeze. Tear a small amount of foam from the top of the cup so the ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the injured area in a circle the size of a softball. After the first 24 hours, apply heat instead of ice if it feels better. Use heat lamps, hot soaks, showers, heating pads or heat liniments and ointments. Support the injured groin area with an elasticized bandage between treatments.
Medication for minor discomfort can be aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Topical liniments and ointments can be used. Your doctor may prescribe stronger pain relievers or even an injection of a long-acting local anesthetic to reduce pain. She may prescribe injections of a corticosteriod, such as triamcinolone, to reduce inflammation.
Walk with crutches for at least 72 hours in the case of a moderate or severe strain. Resume your normal activities gradually. During recovery, you should balance the amount of food you eat with any change in your level of physical activity. Eat a variety of foods to get the energy, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber you need for good health and healing. You can begin daily rehabilitation exercises when supportive wrapping is no longer needed and with the blessing of your doctor.
Call your Doctor if:
Be certain to call your doctor if you have symptoms of a groin strain or if pain or swelling worsens despite treatment.
How do the Bodyguard™ Compression Shorts prevent groin injuries?
The Bodyguard™ provides the groin area with compression, support, muscle heat circulation, strain distribution and it absorbs direct impact. The Bodyguard™ has a 360 degree groin protector double sewn into the crotch. When the athlete puts on The Bodyguard™ they would leave about a 1 inch gap between “themselves” and The Bodyguard™ in the crotch. The protector “floats” between the legs (attached to the inner thighs) and conducts all explosive movements in the groin area out evenly and back evenly. The Groin Protector acts as a shock absorber for all the musculature and connective tissue in the pelvic area.
How do the Bodyguard™ Compression Shorts help an existing groin injury?
When used to protect against an existing injury The Bodyguard™ attaches to the body and acts like a shock absorber preventing the athlete from placing maximum strain on any of the injured musculature or connective tissue in the pelvic region. The Bodyguard™ also compresses and maintains and delivers optimum heat to the surrounding muscle which promotes healing.