pulled groin or sports hernia

Athletes and those who are physically active often face injuries. However, distinguishing between a pulled groin and a sports hernia can be challenging due to their similar symptoms.

Understanding the differences between these two conditions is essential for effective treatment and recovery. Read on to discover what a pulled groin and sports hernia are, and how you can identify which one you might be dealing with.

What is a pulled groin?

A pulled groin, medically known as a groin strain, occurs when one or more of the adductor muscles of the thigh are stretched, torn, or ruptured. These muscles, located on the inner thigh, are crucial for bringing the legs together and stabilising the hip joint.

Groin strains often occur during activities that involve sudden movements, changes in direction, or intense physical exertion. They are especially common in sports like football, hockey, or athletics.

Symptoms of a pulled groin include a sharp pain in the inner thigh, swelling, and bruising. The pain is usually immediate and intensifies with continued activity or movement.

Depending on the severity, which ranges from mild stretching to a complete muscle tear, the discomfort can vary from a dull ache to severe pain that hinders movement.

Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are typically recommended for initial treatment, along with a gradual return to activity.

What is a sports hernia?

A sports hernia, or athletic pubalgia, is a more complex condition than a simple muscle strain. It involves a strain or tear in any soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) in the lower abdomen or groin area.

Contrary to what the name suggests, a sports hernia isn’t actually a hernia. It is a condition often seen in high-intensity sports that involve twisting movements or sudden changes of direction.

The symptoms of a sports hernia can be like those of a pulled groin but often include persistent, aching pain in the lower abdomen. It also causes pain that worsens with activities like running, twisting, or bending.

Unlike a pulled groin, the pain associated with a sports hernia may decrease during rest periods, but often returns when you return to activity.

How to tell if you have a pulled groin or a sports hernia

Distinguishing between a pulled groin and a sports hernia primarily involves assessing the nature and duration of symptoms. A pulled groin typically presents immediate sharp pain at the time of injury, predominantly in the inner thigh. In contrast, a sports hernia starts with a slow onset of pain in the groin or abdominal area, worsening with continuous activity.

Since symptoms can overlap and self-diagnosis can be challenging, it’s crucial to seek professional medical advice for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

If you suspect you have a sports hernia, book a consultation with Mr Michael Stellakis. He can carry out a thorough physical examination, organising imaging if necessary for a confirmed diagnosis and can recommend the best course of action for recovery.