Groin strain

4 Min Read

What is it

Injuries to the adductor muscles from microscopic ruptures to a major tear are commonly called groin pulls or groin strains, even though the groin, technically an area at the junction between the abdomen and thigh, is usually not affected by this injury.

The adductors are five muscles that start at the top of the thigh at the pubic bone and extend along the inner thigh to the inside of the knee. These muscles act to pull your legs in toward each other, so that you can straddle a horse or perform a frog kick while swimming. These same muscles also stabilize the leg when you are running or moving from side to side, help you kick sideways in soccer and karate, and cut quickly in racquet sports and basketball.


  • A sudden sharp pain in the upper inner thigh, typically after a quick, explosive movement or overexertion.
  • Extreme tenderness in the area of the strain.
  • Increase in pain and stiffness with movement or continued activity. In severe cases walking may be painful enough to warrant the use of crutches for several days.

What causes it

The adductor muscles may be strained when you make a quick turn, or anytime you’re involved in explosive running, jumping, twisting, or kicking actions. Running on a slippery surface like wet grass can also result in a groin strain.

What if you do nothing

A minor groin strain will heal itself within a few days. However, groin muscle pulls are not only painful but they tend to recur. Exercises to strengthen and stretch the inner thigh muscles can help safeguard against this.

Home remedies

Stop the activity

As soon as you feel pain in the inner thigh, stop exercising.

Apply ice

Massage the sore spot with ice for IC minutes and repeat four times daily for the next two to three days.

Support the muscle

Wrap the injured thigh with an elastic support bandage.

Try over-the-counter NSAIDs for pain relief

Nonprescription NSAIDs aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen may be taken according to label directions for pain relief and to counteract inflammation.

Rehabilitate the muscles

A groin strain can become a nagging, recurrent injury-unless proper rehabilitation and strengthening are carried out. Rehabilitation can last two weeks to as long as two years, depending upon your age, previous adductor injury, and previous injury to the area. Begin with the exercises that are described below.


The best precaution against groin-muscle pulls is to make sure you are properly warmed up before beginning any exercise routine. Combining the following two strengthening exercises with some gentle stretching will also provide protective benefits. Don’t do these exercises, though, until you are free of pain.

Butterfly stretch

Sit down on the floor with your back straight and knees bent. Place the soles of your feet together and pull the ankles inward toward your crotch. Resting your elbows on the insides of your knees, lean forward from the waist so your elbows push your knees toward the floor. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat 3 to 5 times.

Hurdler stretch

Stand straight with the well leg bent at knee, toes pointed onward. Stretch the wounded leg straight out behind, bending the foot so the toes point forward. Let your pelvis drop on the way to the floor as you curve the knee of the wounded leg. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and do it 3 to 5 times.

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