Ask the Docs | Groin Strain
Posted January 10, 2007
I have been experiencing pain in my inner thigh. There is also some bruising, swelling, and discomfort when I play basketball and push off my right leg. How long do you think I’ll need to rest before it heals?
Dr. Bernard Bach:
You have undoubtedly suffered a groin strain, which takes some time to heal properly. A groin strain is a stretch and possible tear of the adductor muscles that help connect your thighbone and pelvis. There are three levels of severity for a groin pull:
Grade I—A minor stretch of the muscle which results in some discomfort, but normal everyday activity is not significantly impaired.
Grade II—A more severe stretch and possible partial tear to the groin muscle. A Grade II groin injury is considerably more painful. Also, activity may be limited due to the pain, bruising, and swelling.
Grade III—A severe tear of the muscle, pain from which can limit even the smallest movements. A Grade III injury often produces marked bruising, muscle spasms, and severe swelling.
It is common for athletes in sports that involve a lot of pivoting and planting to experience groin strains. The highest incidence of injury occurs in soccer, football, and basketball. Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich missed some game time recently with a groin pull.
Treatment of groin strains is not complicated but does require patience. Many athletes tweak the injury by pushing too hard and too soon to get back on the court. The first step in recovery is rest. Staying off of your groin will allow for the muscle to start repairing itself. Along with rest, over the first 48 hours ice should be applied for 20 minutes every hour. Approximately two days after the injury, a heat pad should replace the ice.
If the injury is Grade II or Grade III, you should visit an orthopaedic sports medicine physician. Depending on the severity of the injury, your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the swelling and pain. After you have sufficiently healed and are cleared by your orthopaedic specialist, you will likely be sent to physical therapy and stretching sessions. Strengthening exercises of the hip and core muscles are used as preventative measures to decrease the chance of injury. You may be fitted with a compression wrap to wear as you ease back into activity. Just make sure to listen to your physician’s advice.
For more information about Dr. Bach and the Sports Medicine physicians of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, call 877.MD BONES or visit them online at www.rushortho.com.
The information contained on this page is intended only for general public education, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for direct medical advice. This information should not replace necessary medical consultations with a qualified orthopaedic physician.
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