Groin injuries can be caused by many different things. The groin has many muscles attaching to it from the legs and buttocks. Although you might not notice it, the groin is also very flexible which means ligaments in the region are also prone to becoming injured too.
The most common causes of groin injury result from these muscles, tendons and ligaments being over-stretched, over-used, or ‘pulled’ (strained).
Occasionally groin pain is actually the result of nerve injuries in the lower-back or from hernias that push down into the groin area. If pain is severe, doesn’t go away, or you also have nausea or vomiting it is very important to get medical treatment as soon as possible.
If you have pulled a muscle, from sport or gardening or some other activity, then you can ease the discomfort by putting an ice pack on the affected area for about 30 minutes every few hours for a few days. This might help ease the swelling and pain. Never put an ice pack directly against the skin — it should be wrapped in a clean cloth to avoid burning the skin.
Do not apply cream or ointments to broken or damaged skin or sores.
Groin injuries usually get better by themselves. But serious injuries may take several weeks. Rest until you can move your leg freely and you don’t have any pain when you walk, jog, sprint, or jump.
If you are in pain, get advice on pain relief medicines you can take. Seek medical attention if you have:
- hot or burning pain in your back or leg
- swelling in your leg
- you have a fever or don't feel well
- you have difficulty passing or controlling urine
- there is a lump in the groin areas
- you have numbness, pins and needles or weakness
- the pain is constant and getting worse
Suspicion of deliberate injury
If there is any suspicion that the injury was not the result of an accident and that it was deliberately inflicted (on purpose), you should seek help from a healthcare professional as soon as possible. This could be a nurse or doctor at an emergency department, or a doctor’s surgery, or a health visitor or school nurse.
You can also search for local services and agencies that can offer confidential advice in the National Health Services Directory.
Not sure what to do next?
If you are still concerned about your groin injury, why not use healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).
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Last reviewed: November 2019