Torn Groin: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

photo of a physical therapist working on a patient to resolve a torn groin strain.

Torn Groin

A torn groin, or groin strain, is a painful and often debilitating condition that can affect anyone, particularly athletes. This injury occurs when the muscles in the groin area are stretched or torn, often during sports that involve sudden movements like sprinting or jumping. If you think you might have a torn groin, it’s crucial to understand its symptoms, diagnosis, management, treatment, and prevention to ensure a full recovery.


A torn groin, also referred to as a groin strain or pulled groin, is an injury to the muscles or tendons in the groin area. This injury often happens during activities that require quick movements, such as running, jumping, or abrupt changes in direction. Overuse, repetitive movements, or skipping proper warm-up exercises can also cause a torn groin.

The groin area includes a group of muscles known as the adductor muscles, which are responsible for bringing the legs together and stabilizing the pelvis. These muscles attach to the pelvis and the inner side of the thigh bone. When stretched beyond their limits or subjected to excessive force, these muscles can tear or strain.

Common causes of a torn groin include sports requiring quick, explosive movements like soccer, basketball, or hockey. Inadequate warm-up, poor conditioning, and lack of flexibility can also increase the risk of injury. Sudden movements or excessive force, such as during a fall or collision, can also result in a torn groin.

Understanding the anatomy of the groin helps in grasping the mechanisms of a torn groin. The adductor muscles—comprising the adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, gracilis, and pectineus—work together to facilitate hip and thigh movements. These muscles are supported by tendons, which attach muscles to bones. A tear typically affects one or more of these muscles or tendons.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Experiencing a torn groin can cause significant pain and discomfort. This injury occurs when the adductor muscles in the groin area are stretched or torn, often seen in athletes who participate in sports involving quick changes in direction or kicking motions.

Symptoms of a torn groin can vary based on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:

• Pain or tenderness in the groin area
• Swelling or bruising
• Difficulty walking or running
• Weakness or instability in the groin
• A popping or snapping sensation at the time of injury

It’s important to differentiate a torn groin from other injuries with similar symptoms, such as a hip flexor strain. A healthcare professional can perform a physical examination and may order imaging tests like an MRI to accurately diagnose a torn groin.

Diagnostic tests for a torn groin may include:

• Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to visualize soft tissues and identify any tears
• Ultrasound to assess muscle and tendon injuries
• X-rays to rule out fractures or bone abnormalities

If you suspect you have a torn groin, seeking medical attention for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment is crucial. At Sport & Spine Physical Therapy, our experienced therapists can also provide comprehensive evaluations and develop personalized treatment plans to help you recover and return to your normal activities.

Management and Treatment

Managing and treating a torn groin involves several approaches to alleviate symptoms and promote healing. These methods include rest and activity modification, physical therapy exercises and stretches, and medications for pain management.

Rest and activity modification are crucial in the initial stages of recovery. Avoid activities that exacerbate pain and further strain the affected muscles. Taking a break from high-impact exercises, sports, or activities involving sudden movements can reduce inflammation and allow the torn tissues to heal.

Physical therapy plays a vital role in rehabilitating a torn groin. A skilled physical therapist can design a personalized exercise program focusing on strengthening the groin muscles and improving flexibility. These exercises may include gentle stretches, range of motion exercises, and targeted strengthening exercises. Gradually rebuilding strength and stability through physical therapy helps restore normal function and prevent future injuries.

In some cases, medications may be prescribed to manage pain and reduce inflammation associated with a torn groin. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help alleviate discomfort and swelling. Additionally, pain management techniques such as ice therapy, heat therapy, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may provide relief.


Torn groin muscles are painful and debilitating, but you can take steps to reduce the risk of this injury. Follow these tips to protect your muscles and stay in peak physical condition.

• A proper warm-up and stretching routine are essential for injury prevention. Before engaging in physical activity, warm up your muscles to increase blood flow and flexibility. Start with light cardiovascular exercises like jogging or jumping jacks to get your heart rate up. Then, focus on stretching the muscles in your groin area to improve their flexibility and range of motion.

• Gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your workouts can help avoid putting too much strain on your muscles. Incorporating strength training exercises targeting the groin muscles can also improve their strength and resilience.

• Listen to your body and pay attention to any warning signs of overexertion or fatigue. If you feel pain or discomfort in your groin area, take a break and give your muscles time to recover. Ignoring these signs could lead to a more severe injury.

Thank you for taking the time to read our blog! We hope you found the information valuable and insightful. If you have any questions or need further assistance, our team at Sport & Spine is here to help. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us to explore how we can support your needs. We look forward to connecting with you soon!