Updated 1 November 2022 | Approved By Dr. Umberto Russo
What is Groin Pain?Groin pain describes any discomfort along the inner thigh where the hips and the abdomen meet. Many structures along the groin region can cause pain, including your adductor (groin) muscles, hip joint and genitals. There are many reasons for groin pain. For instance, around 45% of Australian Football Rules players are expected to experience groin injuries and pain at some stage in their career . It's essential to seek medical guidance as soon as possible to determine the cause of your groin pain. Identifying the source of your groin pain is the first step to receiving appropriate treatment. Several different conditions can cause groin pain and related symptoms. Seeking incorrect treatment can be costly and delay the length of your recovery.
Groin Pain SymptomsMany patients from 24-7 Medcare will describe groin pain differently. For the sake of this article, groin pain covers areas from the inner thighs, the genital and the crevices in-between. Depending on the condition, people can experience symptoms of groin pain differently, including:
- Tenderness and discomfort
- Stiffness and tightness
- An aching sensation that travels above and below the groin
- Swollen lymph nodes
- A snapping or clicking sensation when moving the hip
- Difficulty moving the legs (e.g. squatting, running, etc.)
- Changes in how you go to the toilet (e.g. need to go more frequently, feel more urgency, etc.)
Groin Pain CausesThe groin is a complicated region because of the large number of structures, including your adductor muscles, inner hip joint, genitals, pelvic floor and nerves. As a result, numerous causes of groin pain can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. Examples of conditions that could be related to a sore groin, include:
- A sports groin injury (e.g. adductor strain, tendinitis, etc.)
- Hip arthritis
- Osteitis pubis
- Pelvic disorders
- Gastrointestinal and/or stomach issues
- Kidney stones
- Other kidney conditions
- Nerve pain (also known as referred pain)
- Hip impingement
- Urinary tract infections
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Skin condition
- Pregnancy-related conditions
Tests and DiagnosisTesting is vital to determine your diagnosis and what could be the source of your groin pain. Some many potential conditions and diseases can cause groin pain. Your doctor will be guided based on your medical history and any potential causes and symptoms. Examples of tests that your doctor may suggest include:
Physical ExaminationA physical examination may be required to determine a potential source of your groin. Your doctor may perform or refer you to another healthcare professional (e.g. urologist, gynaecologist, orthopaedic specialist, physiotherapist, etc.) for a specialised physical examination. A physical examination is informative and can help determine whether other tests are required. Examples of different types of physical examinations include:
- Palpation (i.e. healthcare specialist uses their hands to feel for any changes)
- Muscle function tests (e.g. strength tests, flexibility, etc.)
- Joint mobility
- Pelvic examination
- Rectal examination
Imaging InvestigationsInvestigations such as ultrasound, CT scans, MRIs and x-rays can capture and create images inside your body. Any abnormal and normal changes can be found in these images. Your doctor will recommend different types of imaging depending on the possible causes of your groin pain. Structural injuries and changes (e.g. arthritis, muscle tears, etc.) can be found on these tests.
Urine TestUrine tests may be required to determine the function of your kidneys, genitals, bladder and pelvic area. After a sample has been taken, your urine will be analysed by pathologists to check for any signs of inflammation, blood, infection or abnormal changes.
Blood TestsA sample of your blood will be taken for laboratory analysis. Blood tests may be able to pick up infections and systemic causes of your groin pain.
EndoscopyEndoscopy is a procedure that helps the doctor see and record what is happening inside the body. A camera and light are attached at the end of the endoscope, which captures film and images of the structures inside the body (e.g. muscle, organs, bones, etc.). Depending on the type of endoscopy, you may be asleep during the procedure. Your doctor can look for any abnormal changes inside the body that could be responsible for your pain, such as a hernia, growth or injury.
Groin Pain TreatmentYour doctor will recommend treatment depending on your diagnosis and findings from your tests. The purpose of the treatment will be to help reduce your symptoms and prevent the condition from progressing. Examples of some treatments that could be recommended include:
PhysiotherapyIf you have a musculoskeletal condition(s) (e.g. adductor strain, hip impingement, arthritis, etc.), your doctor may recommend that you see a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists are healthcare professionals who help you recover from physical injuries and conditions through rehabilitation. Sessions will incorporate a range of treatments, including exercise therapy, changes in lifestyle habits and manual therapy.
MedicationDepending on your condition, your doctor may recommend medications to help control your symptoms and/or to prevent your condition from progressing. For instance, your doctor may recommend medication to help manage your pain, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) or paracetamol. Another example is prescribing antibiotics for infections that can cause groin pain.
Referral to a Medical SpecialistMedical specialists are doctors who have undergone specific training in a particular area or medical field. Some conditions may require a referral to a medical specialist, such as a urologist, gynaecologist or orthopaedic doctor, for more advanced treatment. Those who do not respond to initial therapy may also be referred to these specialists.
RecoveryRecovery from groin pain will depend on several factors, including your diagnosis, severity, and general health. Under most circumstances, seeking medical attention as early as possible is essential. Early testing and treatment can help prevent your symptoms and conditioning from progressing.
ComplicationsThe cause and diagnosis will determine complications of groin pain. Groin pain can hinder your ability to perform physical tasks, such as exercise, working and even walking. Additionally, groin pain can also be a sign of an underlying condition (e.g. infections, tumours, etc.) which may lead to more severe complications.
Receiving quality care from highly experienced doctors is essential for a prompt diagnosis and receiving the correct medical treatment. With 24-7 MedCare, you can experience telemedicine from the convenience of your own home. Our friendly online doctors will be available 24/7 for a consultation, anytime and anywhere in Australia.
To make a telehealth appointment booking, simply click on the button below.
- 1.Drew, M. K., Lovell, G., Palsson, T. S., Chiarelli, P. E., & Osmotherly, P. G. (2016). Do Australian Football players have sensitive groins? Players with current groin pain exhibit mechanical hyperalgesia of the adductor tendon. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 19(10), 784-788.