THE CLINIC: How Long to Rest a Groin Pull?

Thu, 6 Sept. 2012 - 12:25 a.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association

 

QUESTION:

I am 34 years old and have worked up to running about 30 miles per week for the past year. Four weeks ago I sustained a groin pull while riding my motorcycle. It was sore for a week but I continued to run on it until it finally became too painful. I rested for 7 days (no activity at all) and then started back by walking 10 minutes on a treadmill a few days a week. 

 

To make a long story short, it's been four weeks and I'm not better.  I tried a light

jog after three weeks and set myself back. I'm concerned about the time it's taking because everything I've read says after seven days I should be on the mend. I don't want another unnecessary trip to the doctor if it's not uncommon to take this long to heal, but I wonder if perhaps I should be worried. Is there possibly more going on that requires

additional evaluation?

 

Julia Chesney

Olympia, WA

 

ANSWER:

I have seen quit a few cases of pelvic stress fractures in female runners. Typically, the pain is local to the groin and does not spread much into the leg. It usually hurts during runs and resolves quickly. It can look like a muscle strain. I have been fooled for a short period of time because treatment to the muscle can temporarily resolve pain. These stress fractures usually cause pain if one squeezes the legs together with great effort. I put a fist between the patient's knees and have them squeeze. If a stress fracture is in the differential diagnosis then a bone scan is in order. However, if massage is temporarily

effective then manual treatment to the muscle might still be in order if the stress fracture is ruled out. 

 

You should seek the advice of a sports medicine specialist. In my experience, health care

providers who merely dabble in sports medicine really do not have the experience to

make an accurate diagnosis or to develop appropriate treatment plans. It does not mater if the dabbler is a primary care physician, chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopedist--you really need to see someone who treats runners. The ARA has a referral list, but if there isn't anyone on that list that is close you might talk to people in a local running club or at a specialty running shoe store for some suggestions. 

 

Stephen M. Perle, DC, MS

Bridgeport, CT

 

ANSWER:

A groin pull typically describes a strain of the muscles along the inner aspect of the thigh that pull the leg in toward the opposite leg (hip adductors). The muscles attach to the pelvis in the pubic region. Injuries to these muscles can be quite debilitating and take weeks or longer to heal. Rest alone is not sufficient for recovery. Most athletes

have strength and flexibility deficits of the adductors; the injury compounds this. I would recommend that you work with a physical therapist to improve these deficits prior to attempting to run. If pain persists, you should definitely be evaluated for other

problems, such as a pelvic stress fracture, hernia (though not common in

females), or osteitis pubis.

 

Cathy Fieseler, MD

Tyler, TX

 

 

DISCLAIMER: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.

The American Running Association (ARA) and its Clinic Advisory Board disclaims responsibility and shall have no liability for any consequences suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. ARA does not endorse specifically any test, treatment, or procedure mentioned on this site.


(RUNNING & FITNEWS® November/ December 2008 • Volume 26, Number 6)




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