Several groups of muscles attach in the groin area.
A forceful blow to the groin can cause damage to muscles, ligaments, blood vessels, or organs in the abdomen or genital area. A sharp object can penetrate and injure the groin or genital area.
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 during lifting, pushing, or pulling heavy objects. A fall can pull a groin muscle. 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 occur quickly. Sometimes swelling and bruising do not show up for a few days after the injury.
Inguinal hernias occur when a weak spot develops in the lower abdominal tissue. Often the cause of the hernia is not known, but may be caused by lifting, straining, coughing, obesity, pregnancy, constipation, or aging. A weakness or abnormality in the muscles from birth (congenital) may also increase your chance of having a hernia.
Some groin injuries come from overuse when repeated minor injuries lead to strains or tears of the muscles. 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 may cause:
Home treatment can relieve the pain, swelling, and bruising that can occur with a pulled groin muscle.
In rare cases, a young child may have a hairline fracture of the hip or an avulsion fracture where the hip and upper part of the thighbone are torn apart by force and groin pain is the main symptom. Displacement of the head of the thighbone (slipped capital femoral epiphysis) can occur from an injury. Mild groin or knee pain in a child that does not improve after a few days of home treatment needs to be evaluated by a doctor. If your child's groin pain is severe, immediate evaluation is needed.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine|
|Last Revised||March 1, 2011|