Groin pain can come from any structure in or surrounding your inner thigh where there are numerous arteries and veins as well as large muscles like the adductor group that attaches to the pelvis. First of all it is important to establish where exactly the groin pain is, this can be a very helpful identifying what structure is causing your pain. Your groin pain can be caused by any of the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or joints in the groin area, so let’s look at front parts of structures that can cause a problem.

You may have had a minor groin problem at one time or another but in most cases hip movements are rarely painful. Pain in the groin, that is not caused by an injury, maybe coming from other parts of the body which this is called radiating or referred pain. The groin is very close is some of the major organs in the abdomen and pelvis, so we can expect referral pains towards the groin. The groin area is located on each side of the body in the fields where the belly joins the legs. The pubic area lies between the two groin areas.

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Each person’s case is unique and we want to address your specific needs. If you would like us to investigate or provide some insight, we invite you to contact us by clicking the link below.

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Muscle pain

The Adductor muscle group runs along the inside of your thigh, from your pubic bone all the way to your knee. The adductors is made-up out of 4 muscles that play a very important role stabilizing the hip when you are standing on one leg. Adductor Magnus, Adductor Longus (Long), Adductor Brevis (Short) and the Gracillis muscles can be strained when the leg is pulled sideways or stretched beyond their normal limits.

Groin muscle strains are often called “pulled groin” because of the way the injuries happen, when the muscle tissue stretches until they tear. We determine how bad it is by classifying it from a first to a third degree tear depending on the amount of muscle fibers that are torn. Groin muscle tears can cause quite a bit of problems, click here for more information.

Synchronisation and control of the muscles in the groin and the hip play a very important role provide your leg with a stable base well you are walking or running. The smallest problem in the groin can escalate to cause numerous problems.

Nerve pain

The main nerve supply to the inside of the thigh and the groin comes from the Femoral nerve. Any irritation, compression or impingement of the Femoral nerves and it’s smaller branches will cause nerve pain in the groin. Burning, stabbing feeling or electrical shock, is the type of symptoms that we usually associate with nerve pain.

Tendon pain

Tendons or cables that anchor the muscle to bone. Every muscle has a tendon on either side, the one at the top called the proximal tendon and one at the bottom called the distal tendon. One or multiple tendons can become irritated which is usually due to repetitive movements, finally to cause inflammation in the tendons. A tendonitis of the adductor muscle group is quite common, it can be first sign of a much larger problem. A tendinopathy or even a avulsion fracture (when the tendon rips out a piece of bone) will be the end result of a groin tendonitis that is left untreated.

The Rectus femoris muscle (which is one of the quadriceps) attaches in the front of the pelvis and if this tendon becomes inflamed, it can cause groin pain that radiates along the front of the thigh.

Ligament pain

The inguinal ligament connects the ilium to the pelvis, and lies exactly in the fold between your belly and your leg. This ligament supports the muscles that run to the inner farm including the Iliopsoas and Pectineus muscles of the hip.

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Joint pain

The joints that are most likely to be involved in groin pain include the pubic symphysis, sacroiliac joints, hip joints and your lower lumbar spine. Oteitis pubis is a condition that develops due to excessive stress on the connection between the pubic bones call the pubic symphysis. The connection between the head of the femur and the socket in the hip (acetabulum) can cause problems like femoral acetabular impingement, this is when the femur catches or scrapes the edges of the hip socket.

Hip arthritis and normal aging of the hip joint may give you a deep ache in the groin, compared to a locking feeling of the hip and groin when the labrum is torn. The labrum is a membrane on the inside of the hip socket that provides cushioning for the femur head inside the acetabulum.


A bursa is a fluid-filled disc that prevents excessive friction between structures like tendons, ligaments and Bones. Bursas can become inflamed due to various reasons but it will cause the disc to swell and limit the normal movement. If you apply direct pressure onto the bursa you will be able to feel the pain in your groin.

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Groin Injuries

Acute Injury

A groin injury may occur from a direct blow, a fall, especially when you land on your leg and it is pulled sideways. This can put excessive strain on the adductor muscles causing them to tear. The groin muscles can be pulled or strained during exercise when the muscle needs to contract outside it’s normal boundaries. The sudden pull or strain on the groin muscles while lifting, pushing, or pulling a heavy object may cause sudden groin pain.

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Overuse injury

Overuse injuries occur when too much stress is placed on the groin area. This often happens when you overdue an activity or repeat the same activity over and over again. This type of repetitive strain on the groin muscles may lead to various other problems.

Overuse injuries may put you at risk of developing any one of the following:

  • A hairline crack in the thigh bone (stress fracture of the femur)
  • Hip bursitis
  • Osteitis Pubis – this is a condition that develops from chronic stress on the pubic symphysis
  • Hip joint problems
  • Avulsion fractures – this occurs when a force causes a tendon or ligament to tear away from a bone and break off a piece of bone.

No injury

It is important to look for other causes of your groin pain when you have not had a specific incident that you can remember, when and where you injured your groin. An inguinal hernia is a condition where a tear develops in your abdominal or pelvic wall causing your abdominal tissue to push through the hole, into the leg, which will result in groin pain that relieves when you are lying down and worse when you’re sitting up.

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Groin Pain

  • Vastus Lateralis muscle tear or strain
  • ITB syndrome (Iliotibial band syndrome)
  • Bursitis of the Bursa deep to the Iliotibial band
  • Tensor Facsia Latae muscle strain
  • Hip Labrum tear
  • Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI)
  • Hip arthritis
  • Perthes Disease
  • Slipped Femoral Capital Epiphysis
  • Stress Fracture
  • Avascular Necrosis of the Femoral Head
  • Hip joint pathologies
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Groin pain, Nerve pain in groin, Groin muscle pain, Groin pain treatment, Pain in groin

Causes of Groin pain

Groin pain is one of the most common problems that we see in your practice. Your groin contains some of the larges muscles in your body, not to mention you use them every day to walk. The structures in the groin is very vulnerable to injury especially overuse injuries i.e. repetitive movements like a walking, climbing stairs, kicking and running.

Groin pain may be caused by:

  • Trauma – Contusions, fractures and labrum injuries as well as muscle or ligament strains and sprains.
  • Overuse – Tendon inflammation, labrum injuries and athritis
  • Instability – Impingement of the hip joint (The hip’s socket connection with the femur)
  • Autoimmune – Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Referral from Joints – Pubic symphysis, sacroiliac joints, hip joints and your lower lumbar spine
  • Referral from Nerves – Irritation, compression of the femoral nerves.
  • Visceral referral – Hernia of the small intestines, Prostate, Overies, ect.
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Groin Pain Treatment

As you can see, these are just a few of the common groin injury sources, so an accurate diagnosis is very important to provide you with the best rehabilitation. With accurate assessment and early treatment, most groin pain responds extremely quickly to physiotherapy allowing you to quickly get back to life.

If you are suffering groin pain, we highly recommend that you seek our help because we are experienced in the assessment and management of groin pain. It can be very tricky! You wouldn’t want to undergo a hip replacement early in life due to poor management of that pain in your groin.

Please ask our physiotherapist for their professional treatment advice.

  • Acupuncture & Dry Needling
  • Heat packs (Thermal therapy)
  • Kinesiology Tape
  • Rigid Strapping or taping
  • Neurodynamics (Nerve tissue mobilizations)
  • Dynamic Strapping
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Guided loading protocol
  • Stretches (Static, dynamic and ballistic)
  • Moon boot
  • Brace
  • Compression Bandage or Sleeve
  • Supportive strapping and taping
  • Biomechanical Analysis
  • Gait Analysis
  • TENS
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Why is your groin pain lasting longer than expected?

  • You believed the pain would go away over time (on its own) but it didn’t

  • You went to the Doctor who told you to rest and take painkillers. The painkillers helped to relieve the immediate pain but didn’t help your injured groin. As soon as the painkillers wore off, the pain returned

  • A family member (or friend) told you that “Everybody experiences groin pain as they grow older,” and that you should just accepted it

  • In the past you went to other Healthcare Professionals (or a Physiotherapist) but nothing they said or did seemed to help

  • YouTube exercises and home remedies didn’t help relieve the pain, or in some cases made the groin pain ten times worse

  • You thought it would be a good idea to rest because your groin was sore. However, afterwards you felt even worse than before

  • You went for massages, hoping they would relieve the pain. The massages felt pleasant and relaxing, but didn’t do anything to fix your pain in the long term

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Experiencing these situations or applying similar advice and not getting results is a good thing. Why? Because these experiences help you know what doesn’t work for you. It means that you are closer to finding out what does work for you!

We invite you to book an appointment with a Physiotherapist (at our Pretoria practice). During an appointment we assess your symptoms, diagnose the cause, educate you about what is happening in your body and then start treatment. See our FAQ for more in depth information about what to expect from a physiotherapy session.

Alternatively, click the link below to book a FREE phone call. The phone call is complimentary and there is no obligation to book any appointments with us after the call is over. This is an opportunity to get an expert’s advice about your situation. Our goal is to help you make an informed decision about what to do next concerning your muscle pain.

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Choose a Cilliers & Swart Physiotherapist to aid you in getting rid of your groin pain

What can we do for you?

  • We quickly put an end to pain and stiffness – often within a couple of sessions

  • We help you find out what is going on in your body and help you understand the root cause of your groin pain

  • Pain can rob you of sleep or rest. We make it easier for you to return to your normal sleeping patterns and positions so that your energy and potential for recovery increases

  • Cilliers & Swart Physiotherapists closely manage and treat your problem. We also provide you with related exercises to speed up your recovery

  • Using painkillers in the long-term can be harmful to your health. We help you lower or completely stop your need for painkillers to manage pain

  • Our physiotherapists safeguard you against dangerous and costly surgeries and painful injections

  • We reduce visits to specialists or doctors who only order you to take more pills

  • Groin pain can limit the activities you enjoy with your family and friends. Our experts help you get back to spending quality time on the activities you (and your loved ones) like

  • We can get you to sit comfortably and walk longer than 15 minutes, in both cases without feeling that your groin is weak, in pain or about to collapse

In short, we help you get back to living life free from groin pain. For information about costs and availability, click the button below:

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4 steps to get rid of groin pain quickly.

  • Decide to get help.
    Many people put off going for treatment, that by the time they receive treatment the injury has worsened over time or caused other problems. Don’t think that groin pain will ‘just go away with time’. It might sound brave to ‘put up with pain’ over an extended period of time, but the lack of treatment could end up costing you more in terms of time (for recovery) and resources (money) the longer you wait.

  • Do the RIGHT exercises.
    One of the best things to help ease your groin pain is an appropriate series of progressed exercises (as advised by your Physiotherapist or Health Professional). The right kind of activities can reduce your pain and increase your range of movement. Above all, exercises ensure that problems don’t come back. However, the wrong kind of exercises have the potential to increase the pain in your groin even more.

  • Avoid sitting still for long periods.
    Ever tried to get up from the sofa after resting for a while, but you struggle because you’re in pain? That’s because one of the worst things you can do is to ‘rest’ in a sitting position for too long. As a safety measure we recommend specific strengthening exercises for better posture. We can help you get active by combining these exercises with our Physiotherapists’ hands-on treatment.

  • Get hands-on Physiotherapy treatment.
    Physiotherapy is proven to improve the lives of people suffering from groin pain. Groin pain could be affecting your physical performance in a professional or private capacity. It could even threaten your independence or get in the way of spending quality time with family and friends. Physiotherapy can enable you to live the life you desire as quickly as possible.

If you would like to know how the Physiotherapy team at Cilliers & Swart can help you, we invite you to book a FREE, no-obligation, risk-freeCall me backphone call.

Note: This Free Call is a service we offer to people who are nervous or unsure. You might not know if Physiotherapy is the right treatment for you. If you are unsure, please fill out our online form. We will contact you to find out what is wrong and how we can help. There is no financial obligation or risk on your part. You have nothing to lose except your pain.

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