Did I Pull My Groin Or Do I Have A Hernia?

Are you having pain in your groin, inner thigh, or lower abdomen and are unsure what the cause is? Groin strains and hernias are very similar and could both be causing pain in these areas. This post will go through both injuries in their similarities and differences and how to treat them!

Groin strain

What is your “groin”? When people talk about their groin, they are talking about their adductor muscles which include 5 muscles that begin at the pubic area and travel down the inner thigh to the inside of the knee. A groin strain is a stretching, pulling, or tearing of these muscles that can be caused by overstretching, movement without proper warm up, direct blow to the area, or overtraining. They can range from mild to severe in terms of how much of the muscle is involved. 

Symptoms include:

  • swelling or bruising in the groin area
  • difficulty walking
  • weakness
  • pain in the lower abdomen, pelvic or thigh area
  • pain brought on by bringing the legs together or raising your leg. 


A hernia is when internal tissue bulges through a weak area in the muscle. Hernias can occur in many different areas in the body, but inguinal (aka groin hernias) are the most common. They can be caused by lifting heavy objects with improper form, overuse, or straining during coughing, sneezing, or a bowel movement. Risk of hernias is increased if overweight, poor diet, or tobacco use and they are more common in men. 

Symptoms include:

  • a visible or palpable bulge in the groin area
  • increased pain with sneezing/coughing/bowel movements
  • pain radiating down the inner thigh, and weakness
  • in males: swelling or pain in the scrotum. 

Treatment for Hernia vs. Groin strain: 

Because hernias involve internal organs, it is very important to see your physician for appropriate treatment of hernias. Often they require surgical repair. However, following recovery from surgery, physical therapy can help strengthen the abdominal wall and alter lifting mechanics to prevent future hernias from occurring. Initial treatment of groin strains include RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) for a few days, followed by a progressive program of stretching and strengthening. It’s very important to work through this program with a physical therapist who can progress you appropriately and return you safely to full activity.

Groin Strain stretch examples:

  • Standing lateral lunge stretch: stand with feet wider than hip width apart, bend one knee and lean towards that side until you feel a gentle stretch in your groin. 
  • Butterfly stretch: sit against a wall and bend both knees up to your chest, then let your knees fall to the side. 
  • Supine hip flexor stretch: lie on your back close to the edge of a bed or couch. Bring both knees to your chest, then let the leg closest to the edge fall and let gravity pull your leg down. 
  • Hold each stretch 3 times for 20-30 seconds on each side

If you are suffering from either of these injuries and have any questions or are seeking help, contact Total Performance Physical Therapy!


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We Have an Immediate Opening for a Physical Therapist in Harleysville. Resumes Can Be Sent to linda@totalperformancept.com

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