Groin Strain Treatment

Treatment For a Pulled Groin Muscle

hip groin stretch
Stretching can be an important component of recovery from a pulled groin muscle. Jeannot Olivet / Getty Images

Treatment of a groin pull is usually guided by the severity of the injury. Resting a groin pull is the key to successful treatment. As a general rule of thumb, if you have a groin pull, you can do activities that don't aggravate your injury. You should rest until you are pain free to allow the injured muscle to heal. Resting inadequately may prolong your recovery.

It's also important for athletes to remember that sometimes their pain may not be noticeable during their sports activities.

  If they have pain after their activity, including that night or the next morning, they should allow for more rest in their recovery process.

The following are the common treatments used for groin strains:

  • Rest
    It is important to rest following the injury to allowed the injured muscle to properly heal. Allow pain to guide your level of activity; this means that activities which cause symptoms should be avoided.
  • Stretching
    Gentle stretching is helpful, but it should not be painful. Stretching excessively can be harmful and slow the healing process.  In general you want to stretch to the point of discomfort, but not pain, and then hold that stretch for a count of 10 to 20.
  • Ice the Injury
    Apply ice to the injured area in the acute phase (first 48 hours after injury), and then after activities. Ice will help calm the inflammatory response and stimulate blood flow to the area.  Make sure you don't ice the area for more than 15-20 minutes without a break, as you can damage the tissues from prolonged cold exposure.
  • Heat Applications
    Before activities, gentle heating can help loosen the muscle. Apply a heat pack to the groin prior to stretching or exercising. As a general rule of thumb, remember to heat before, and ice after.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medications
    Oral anti-inflammatory medications (such as Ibuprofen, Aleve, or Motrin) can help relieve symptoms of pain and also calm the inflammation.  There are possible side-effects of these medications, so you should always check with your doctor before beginning a new medication treatment.
  • Physical Therapy
    Physical therapists can be helpful in guiding treatment that may speed your recovery. Some people find modalities such as ultrasound, therapeutic massage, and specific exercises particularly helpful. You should see your physician to determine if these would be appropriate for your condition.

What can be done to prevent groin strains?
New research is shedding light on factors that can be helpful in preventing groin injuries. Competitive athletes who participate in soccer, ice hockey, or similar sports that are prone to groin injuries should focus some energy on groin injury prevention. Exactly what exercises and stretches are most important in still being worked out, but some suggestions for groin injury prevention include:

Together, these exercises and stretches can help control the movements of the hip and pelvis, and hopefully prevent many groin strains.  A good core strengthening program should be a part of any athlete's routine.


Noonan TJ, and Garrett WE, "Muscle strain injury: diagnosis and treatment" J. Am. Acad. Ortho. Surg., Jul 1999; 7: 262 - 269.

Nicholas SJ, Tyler TF. "Adductor muscle strains in sport" Sports Med. 2002;32(5):339-44.

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