Pain In Groin After Running: The Why And What To Do

Just when you least expect it, injury seems to rear its ugly head. While most people equate certain injuries with runners, such as shin splints and plantar fasciitis, there are many other parts of the body that can get injured. Some people may not even be sure what is going on when they experience pain in certain areas of their body. For example, pain in groin after running is something that runners may experience and not be sure how to deal with it.

How Does Groin Pain Present?

When you feel a pulling, tightness or nagging pressure on the inside of the thigh as pictured below, you may have a groin strain or pull. You also may experience bruising of the inner thigh. The injured area may feel warm to the touch.

Groin injury pain pattern
Groin injury pain pattern. MendMeShop ®  ©2012

The pain may be exacerbated by lifting your knee, crossing one leg over the other, or trying to exercise. Slow movement may be less painful than faster movement, so while walking or light jogging may be tolerated, running will probably be out of the question.

If you have pain that radiates into your lower abdomen or testicular pain in men, this can also be a sign of groin strain. Notice that for any two people, the symptoms you experience can be different.

Can You Get A Groin Strain From Running?

A groin strain or pull is typically caused by a sudden movement. Sports like soccer with quick lateral movements, for example, commonly see groin injuries. Runners are most likely to get groin injuries if a few things are true.

A runner who tries to run fast without properly warming up may be susceptible to a groin injury.  This is one reason why it is so crucial to do a dynamic warm up prior to working out, especially on the track. If you slip on ice or trip on a trail run, this could cause a twist in your body that could lead to a groin strain.

What Helps Groin Pain From Running?

If you have pain in your groin while running, there are some things you can do. First, anytime your body is hurting, it is trying to tell you something. The message your body sends is sometimes just that you need to rest.

Too often athletes, runners in particular, are more worried about the statistics they are charting than with taking good care of their body. Sometimes the best gift you can give to your body is to rest it when it is sending you pain or discomfort.

What if you have groin pain after running? What we mean is, the pain does not come until you are done running. Pain or discomfort that comes after the physical activity can often be remedied by stretching.

How To Help A Strained Groin

You can use ice on the area inside the thigh when you are experiencing groin pain to reduce pain and swelling. When using ice, remember that you should not have ice directly against the skin. You can use some type of soft cloth as a barrier between the ice and your body. Ice should be used for no more than 20 minutes and then you should give the area at least 20 minutes to warm up before applying ice a second time.

Taking ibuprofen is another good practice to help with the discomfort and/or inflammation. Naproxen is another anti-inflammatory that is commonly used for this reason.

Compression can be applied to the afflicted area to help promote healing. Some athletes will find compression helpful once they return to activities.

There are also exercises you can do to help your groin to heal.

Exercises To Target a Groin Injury

Hip Adductor Stretch

  1. For this stretch you should lie on your back with your feet on the ground, knees bent.
  2. Press your feet firmly to the ground.
  3. Gently drop your knees to the ground as far as they can comfortably go (so they are still bent, and touching the floor or close to touching the floor)
  4. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.
  5. Put legs back in original position.
  6. Repeat.
Hip Adductor Stretch

Resisted Hip Flex

  1. Find a resistance band.
  2. Hook the band to a stationary object.
  3. Standing, place one foot in the loop of the resistance band.
  4. With one foot firmly planted and the other in the band, pull forward with the foot in the band.
  5. Engage your thigh muscles as you bring your leg forward.
  6. Remember these movements should be steady and consistent, not quick motions.
  7. Do 3 sets of 15 on each leg.
Resisted Hip Flex

Swinging Leg Stretch

  1. Stand with a hand gently resting on a stationary object, like a chair or wall.
  2. With one foot firmly planted on the ground (same foot as hand on the wall), swing the other leg back and forth with gentle but precise movements.
  3. You should slowly find yourself getting a larger range of motion as you warm up and also as your groin heals.
Swinging Leg Stretch

Butterfly Sit

  1. Sit with your bottom on the floor, knees bent, heels and feet firmly together.
  2. Gently push down on your knees so they are getting closer to the ground.
  3. Hold for :20-:30 seconds, then release.
  4. Repeat.
Butterfly Sit

Fire Hydrant

  1. This stretch is reminiscent of a dog peeing on a hydrant.
  2. Get on the ground on all 4s.
  3. Lift one leg off to the side, bent at a 90 degree angle.
  4. Hold at top for a moment, then drop your leg.
  5. Repeat 10 times.
  6. Be sure to do the exercise with both legs for balance.
Fire Hydrant

How Long Does A Strained Groin Take To Heal?

A groin injury can take anywhere from a few days to months to heal. If you have some slight pain and just rest it a few days, it may remedy itself. Furthermore, switching from very ambitious workouts to easy running may help you to heal quickly.

If you have a moderate groin injury as a result of running, you may find that after doing some stretches and strengthening exercises you are ready to go in a few weeks.

Some people, however, have terrible pain in the groin that does not go away quickly. These injuries, such as a severe groin pull, can sideline an athlete for months. If your groin injury does not go away with the things we suggested, don’t delay. Seek the intervention and advice of a medical professional.

WebMD Groin Pulls
Groin Stretches

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