For a general overview of understanding the severity of a muscle pull, based on the typical muscle pull grading system, read this article on muscle pull symptoms.
For more specific information regarding groin pulls, read on.
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To assess your level of groin injury, a doctor will typically discuss your symptoms, your overall health, and how the injury happened. The doctor will check for tenderness, bruising, pain, and/or weakness directly over your groin, and may ask that you contract your adductor (pull your leg in from the side) or contract it against resistance. Note that if your muscle pull is severe, even the thought of contracting this muscle may be painful, so don’t do anything that you think will aggravate the torn muscle tissue.
Your pulled groin is typically assigned a grade based on the following:
You have experienced some over-stretching of the adductor muscles in the upper leg and some micro-tearing of the fibers. You may experience:
- tightness in your groin area
- ability to walk normally, but aware of discomfort
- minimal swelling
You have experienced partial tearing of the groin muscle fibers. You may experience:
- affected walk, including potential for a slight limp
- twinges of pain during activity, especially if you try to move side to side
- visible swelling and applying pressure increases pain
- pain when flexing the adductor muscles, especially against resistance (when you try to pull your legs in from the side.
You have experienced full tearing of the groin muscle fibers (rupture). You may experience:
- severely affected walk, including potential requirement for crutches
- severe, sharp pain, especially when pulling the leg in or moving sideways
- visible and immediate swelling
In addition to the three grades of injury, there is also the category of chronic. A chronic injury is one that is persistent and recurring and is identified by the following symptoms:
- You experience stiffness and soreness in your groin for over one month
- Your bruising and swelling is gone, but your flexibility is limited and using your adductor muscles at their peak levels is painful.
If you have previously had a strain and did not allow the muscles to heal fully before returning to your normal activities and exercise, your chance of developing a chronic groin strain increase significantly. Often, in such cases, you are susceptible to muscle imbalances between your leg muscles that will cause undo stress upon the previously injured muscle causing it to strain again more easily in the future.
Note: Seek medical attention if you have difficulty walking, or the pain is significant or unbearable.