How Do You Know if You Pulled Your Groin? Symptoms & Causes

Medically Reviewed on 11/24/2021
How Do You Know if You Pulled Your Groin
You may have pulled your groin if you experience swelling, bruising, and pain in the groin. Learn how to tell the difference between groin strain and hernia

You may have pulled your groin if you experience the following symptoms in your groin area:

Groin strains can vary in severity depending on the degree:

  • First degree: Mild pain with slight issues with movement or strength.
  • Second degree: Moderate pain accompanied by tissue damage and mild to moderate strength loss.
  • Third degree: Severe pain with a maximum loss of strength and function due to a fully torn muscle.

What causes a pulled groin?

Groin strain occurs due to extreme pressure on the muscles in your groin and thigh, resulting in overstretching or tearing of the muscles.

This type of injury is associated with:

  • Sports, such as hockey, basketball, soccer, football, and skiing
  • Ballet, gymnastic, and martial arts
  • Not warming up properly before exercise
  • Doing more intense exercise than usual
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Falling, running, or jumping while abruptly changing direction
  • Returning to activity too quickly after a previous groin strain

What other problems can be confused with a groin pull?

Symptoms of groin strain are similar to those of many other conditions, including:

How do you know if it’s a hernia or groin pull?

Groin pain is common in people with hernias. Here is how to tell the difference between a hernia and a groin strain:

  • Hernia is characterized by the presence of a small lump on one side of the groin due to the organ pushing itself outside the groin or abdominal muscle.
  • Hernia pain tends to worsen while straining or coughing, unlike a groin strain.
  • Hernia pain develops over time, unlike pain from groin strain which often feels like a sudden jolt.

You may experience the following symptoms if you have pain in the groin due to a hernia:

  • Feeling of fullness
  • Weakness or pressure
  • Tugging, burning, or aching sensation
  • Occasional pain and swelling around the testicles or swollen or enlarged scrotum

Your doctor may use X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging to rule out other conditions.

How is a groin pull treated?

Groin strain can be treated using the RICE method:

  • Rest (R): Depending on the grade of the injury, you need to rest the area.
  • Ice (I): Using ice packs or ice massages can help reduce swelling or pain.
  • Compression (C): Use an elastic wrap to support the groin and reduce swelling.
  • Elevate (E): Elevate the groin at or above heart level to prevent swelling. Keep it elevated for 2-3 hours a day.

For instant relief, you can:

  • Do gentle stretches
  • Apply ice and heat alternatively to reduce inflammation
  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
  • Apply a warm compress to increase blood flow to the muscles
  • Apply pain-relieving creams or gels that include menthol or capsaicin


Pictures of the 7 Riskiest Workout Moves, and How to Improve Them See Slideshow
Medically Reviewed on 11/24/2021
Image Source: iStock Images

University of Michigan Health.

Teens Health. Groin Strain.

WebMD. Groin Pull.