Groin Strain Physical Therapy

A physical therapist lifting his patients leg

Groin Strain Physical Therapy

Groin injuries are prevalent among athletes involved in sports that invoke forceful hip abduction. For example, groin injuries comprise 5% of all soccer-related injuries and 10% of ice hockey-related injuries. It is also common in track and field, skiing, and football. Other causes of groin strain include slipping while walking, lifting heavy objects, and climbing. Fortunately, physical therapy is an effective treatment option for groin strains. This article will discuss what you should know about groin strain physical therapy.

Anatomy and Function of the Groin

The groin is located on the lower part of the abdominal wall on either side of the pubic bone. It comprises the adductor muscles of the hip, also known as the groin muscles. These muscles allow the thigh to adduct. The groin also consists of deep inguinal lymph nodes, nerves, ligaments, and blood vessels.

What is Groin Strain and How Does it Feel Like?

A groin strain or a pulled groin is an injury or tear to the groin muscles. Typically, groin injuries and strains occur due to stress on the hip joint and the pelvis. Depending on the severity of your strain, groin pain is characterized by the following:

  • Pain when you raise your knee
  • Tenderness on the inside of your thigh
  • Pain when you try to bring your legs together
  • Intense pain that follows a popping noise

Groin pain can be acute or chronic. Acute strains are caused by direct trauma and are common in contact sports. On the other hand, chronic groin strains result from overuse injuries and are common in sports that involve the overuse of the groin area, such as swimming, figure skating, running, soccer, and ice hockey.

Groin strains are further categorized into the following grades based on the severity of the injury:

Grade 1

In grade 1 groin strain, an individual might not notice the pain until they complete the activity. It is characterized by mild tears or muscle damage. As a result, your muscles are likely to maintain their normal strength. However, you might feel tightness or slight pain when you stretch or bring your legs together. Grade 1 strains are easy to recover from.

Grade 2

You will likely notice the pain immediately after injuring your groin when it comes to grade 2 strains. With the right recovery program, this groin injury is fairly easy to recover from.

Grade 3

Grade 3 groin strains are not so common. If they do occur, they involve the complete tear of the muscle fibers. These injuries are characterized by a burning sensation and a popping sound at the time of the injury. You might also notice a divot in the muscle. Additionally, you might be unable to walk due to the intense pain. Grade 3 injuries require a couple of months to heal completely. Sometimes surgery might be necessary to correct the damage.

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How is Groin Strain Diagnosed?

Physicians and doctors who do physical therapy conduct a thorough evaluation to diagnose a groin strain. These include:

Taking Your Medical History

Your doctor must take your medical history to ensure that you receive appropriate and comprehensive treatment.

Physical Assessment

After taking your medical history, your doctor will conduct a comprehensive physical examination to determine where the injury is. Physical assessment can also help your doctor determine the severity of your injury. During the physical evaluation, your doctor will look for the following:

  • Swelling or bruising
  • Divots in the muscle
  • Inflammation

You can also expect the doctor to test your muscle strength and flexibility. You might also have to walk and climb to assess the severity of your injury.

Diagnostic Imaging

Depending on the severity of your injury, your doctor might order an x-ray, MRI, or ultrasound to diagnose your injury fully.

Blood Tests

Sometimes groin strains can lead to secondary infections. As a result, doctors might decide to do a complete blood test to rule out secondary infections.

Groin Strain Treatment Options

The right treatments for your pulled groin depend on the type of injury and severity. You might require multiple treatments if you are experiencing numerous groin injuries. Let’s discuss the common treatment plans for groin strain in detail below.


Mild or grade 1 groin injuries tend to resolve independently with proper rest. If your doctor determines that your pulled groin can heal on its own, you will have to take adequate time to rest.

RICE Protocol

The RICE protocol is short for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Many mild and moderate groin strains respond well to this protocol.

Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Medications and Pain Relievers

Individuals with less severe groin injuries can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to manage the pain and reduce inflammation.

Physical Therapy

Almost all groin injuries respond well to physical therapy modalities such as strengthening exercises, soft tissue massage, patient education, and more.

Related: What to Expect at Physical Therapy?


You might need surgery to repair or replace torn fibers for severe groin injuries.

Why Physical Therapy for Groin Strain?

Physical therapy is the best treatment for groin strain because it is centered around your specific needs. Additionally, your physical therapist will design a custom-tailored treatment program and recommend exercises that will speed up your recovery to help you get back to your everyday life quickly. Physical therapy for groin strain focuses on the following:

  • Strengthening your muscles
  • Improving motion
  • Reducing pain and inflammation
  • Promoting a safe return to your activities
  • Fast recovery
  • Preventing reinjury

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How Do Physical Therapists Treat Groin Strain?

Treatment for groin strain varies from one person to another, depending on the severity and individual goals and objectives. Your doctor who does physical therapy might make various recommendations, including:

  • Manual therapy to reduce pain and tension
  • Gentle and light stretching to restore your range of motion and muscle strength
  • Exercises with weights and equipment to strengthen your muscle
  • Continuous evaluation to see how you are recovering

Start Your Groin Strain Recovery Today With La Clínica

Groin pain can impact your life negatively. That’s why you should schedule an appointment in one of our physical therapy clinics to overcome the pain and get back to what you love most in no time. Our experienced therapists are ready to work with you to create a personalized treatment that will speed up your recovery and help you get to your favorite activities in no time.