How do I manage a groin strain injury

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Managing a groin strain injury can be difficult for people that regularly take part in sports and physical exercise. That's because having a groin strain means you have to refrain from sports and exercise until it heals. Even when you return to these activities, there is a risk of re-injury. But how exactly do you spot the symptoms of groin strain and, if diagnosed with the injury, what is the best way to manage it?

Groin strains are most often caused by sudden twisting or side-stepping movements and are common in rugby and football players, as well as runners with bad technique. The symptoms are relatively easy to detect as they involve sharp pains in your lower abdominal or thigh muscles. This pain may evolve into an ache and be accompanied by bruising, swelling or tenderness in the groin area. The sensitive nature of this kind of injury means that it doesn't go unnoticed so the chances of you having a groin strain and not realising it are slim.

If you suspect that you might have a groin strain, visit a doctor, sports medicine specialist or physiotherapist as soon as you can, to prevent the strain from worsening. These experts should be able to tell you exactly what the extent of the damage is and how long your recovery period is likely to be. In all cases of groin strain, rest is essential in order to repair the injury. This means not playing sports or exacerbating the strain by running or strenuous walking.

Once your rest period is over, your specialist is likely to recommend a series of gentle exercises to help you get your groin muscles back in shape and ready to handle exercise once more. They may also recommend massage and, in some cases, a course of pain relief injection therapy. However, it is essential that you do not go back to playing sports until the strain has healed and you experience no more pain in the affected area. Returning too quickly to physical activity means a great chance of developing chronic groin pain, which could hamper your sports-playing abilities for life.

Towards the end of your treatment period, your specialist is also likely to recommend exercises and tips for managing a groin strain in the long-term. Perhaps the simplest but most important advice is to make sure you warm up before exercise and cool down after. Stretching your muscles is helpful in managing groin strain because it increases muscle temperature, making them more pliable while you're playing sports and easing muscle relaxation afterwards.

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