An adductor muscle strain, also called a groin strain or pull, is an injury to the muscles or tendons on the upper, inner part of the thigh. These muscles are called the adductor or groin muscles. They are responsible for moving the legs across the body or pulling the legs together.
A muscle strain occurs when a muscle is overstretched and some muscle fibers are torn. The severity of an adductor muscle strain is rated as Grade 1, 2, or 3. A Grade 3 strain has the most tearing and pain.
What are the causes?
Adductor muscle strains usually occur during exercise or while participating in sports.
A sudden, violent force placed on the muscle, stretching it too far.
Stretching the muscles too far or too suddenly, often during side-to-side motion with a sudden change in direction.
Putting repeated stress on the adductor muscles over a long period of time.
Performing vigorous activity without properly stretching or warming up the adductor muscles beforehand.
Not being properly conditioned.
What are the signs or symptoms?
Pain and tenderness in the groin area. This begins as sharp pain and persists as a dull ache.
A popping or snapping feeling when the injury occurs (for severe strains).
Swelling or bruising.
Weakness in the leg.
Stiffness in the groin area with decreased ability to move the affected muscles.
How is this diagnosed?
A physical exam.
Your medical history.
How well you can do certain range of motion exercises.
Imaging tests, such as MRI, ultrasound, or X-rays.
Grade 1 strain (mild). Muscles are overstretched. There may be very small muscle tears. This type of strain generally heals in about one week.
Grade 2 strain (moderate). Muscles are partially torn. This may take one to two months to heal.
Grade 3 strain (severe). Muscles are completely torn. A severe strain can take more than three months to heal. Grade 3 gluteal strains are rare.
How is this treated?
PRICE therapy. PRICE stands for protection of the injured area, rest, ice, pressure (compression), and elevation.
Medicines to help manage pain and swelling (anti-inflammatory medicines).
Crutches. You may be directed to use these for the first few days to minimize your pain.
Depending on the severity of the muscle strain, recovery time may vary from a few weeks to several months. Severe injuries often require 4–6 weeks for recovery. In those cases, complete healing can take 4–5 months.
Follow these instructions at home:
Protect the muscle from being injured again.
Rest. Do not use the strained muscle if it causes pain.
- If directed, put ice on the injured area:
Put ice in a plastic bag.
Place a towel between your skin and the bag.
Leave the ice on for 20 minutes, 2–3 times a day. Do this for the first 2 days after the injury.
Apply compression by wrapping the injured area with an elastic bandage as told by your health care provider.
Raise (elevate) the injured area above the level of your heart while you are sitting or lying down.
Do not drive or use heavy machinery while taking prescription pain medicine.
Walk, stretch, and do exercises as told by your health care provider. Only do these activities if you can do so without any pain.
Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
- Follow your treatment plan as told by your health care provider. This may include:
Local electrical stimulation (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, TENS).
Keep all follow-up visits. This is important.
How is this prevented?
Warm up and stretch before being active.
Cool down and stretch after being active.
Give your body time to rest between periods of activity.
Make sure to use equipment that fits you.
Be safe and responsible while being active to avoid slips and falls.
- Maintain physical fitness, including:
Proper conditioning in the adductor muscles.
Overall strength, flexibility, and endurance.
Contact a health care provider if:
You have increased pain or swelling in the affected area.
Your symptoms are not improving or they are getting worse.
An adductor muscle strain, also called a groin strain or pull, is an injury to the muscles or tendons on the upper, inner part of the thigh.
A muscle strain occurs when a muscle is overstretched and some muscle fibers are torn.
Depending on the severity of the muscle strain, recovery time may vary from a few weeks to several months.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.