Groin pain: causes, treatment & tips for groin pain

Pain in the groin occurs in quite a lot of people, and not just athletes. In athletes, overload is the main cause of groin injuries, while in other cases diseases or conditions are the cause of pain in the groin area. Groin pain is usually a vague, aching or stabbing pain at the junction between the thigh and upper body that can radiate to the pubic area and the thigh. Overload is one of the most frequent causes of this phenomenon. Painkillers and soothing cream can help to relieve groin pain. Furthermore, it is essential for athletes to include the groin in a comprehensive warm-up. In the case of an inguinal hernia, an inguinal hernia belt can support the groin and reduce the complaints. What are the causes of groin pain and what tips are useful for treating it?

Pain in the groin area

Feeling pain in the groin area can be very unpleasant and make your movements difficult . Pain can occur at the junction between the thigh, pubic area and upper body, causing difficulty in walking. Groin pain is often a vague pain that can be related to various things. This makes determining the cause not that easy. Groin pain is quite common and both men and women suffer from it.

Symptoms of groin pain

The groin is a delicate part of the human body and an injury to it can sometimes take a long time. Moreover, it is a typical injury that occurs again and again in some athletes. You feel a nagging, sharp, stabbing pain in the groin, which may radiate to the inner thigh. Some people feel pain radiating to the pubic area and genitals. The thigh may also feel hard and painful. Pain in the groin can occur not only during movements, but also when at rest. The characterization “stabbing pain that radiates” is characteristic of a problem or pain in the groin area.

Causes of pain in the groin


Athletes are the most common victims of groin pain. Due to intensive use of the legs, the muscles, joints and tendons near the groin can be put under great pressure and become overloaded. In some cases, a groin injury can become chronic and cause long-term unfitness to compete. Footballers and tennis players in particular are among the victims of annoying, often chronic groin injuries. An example of this is football legend Johan Cruijff, whose groin was regularly a source of concern. People who participate in recreational sports (e.g. jogging, cycling) also know that groin pain can be a frequently recurring problem.

Infections in the groin area

Pain in the groin can be a result of inflammation that occurs in organs near the groin. Inflammation of the urinary tract ( cystitis ) and the genitals (testicular inflammation) in particular can cause pain in the groin. But sexually transmitted diseases can also cause pain radiating to the groin.

Inguinal hernia

With a hernia of the groin there is a bulge of the peritoneum . Often a clear “bulge” is visible on the abdomen. This is due to excessive pressure on the abdominal wall. Causes of this are hereditary predisposition, lifting too heavy, heavy coughing or excessive straining.

Other causes

  • constipation
  • Bekhterev’s disease
  • kidney complaints: kidney stone
  • wear of the hips
  • pelvic instability in pregnant women
  • radiating nerve pain in the groin due to back problems (e.g. hernia)


Groin pain treatment: tips


In the event that inflammation or other conditions are the cause of the pain in the groin, treatment with medication will provide a solution in most cases. Painkillers that can provide relief from the complaints include paracetamol, ibuprofen and nurofen. The last two medications are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and therefore have an anti-inflammatory effect in addition to analgesic effects.

Warm-up oil

An important tip for athletes to avoid overload is to properly involve the groin in the warm-up and stretching before starting the actual sporting activity. You can apply a decent warm-up oil to the groin so that blood circulation is promoted and the groin area as a whole feels pleasant and warm.
Some examples of oils and lotions to make and keep the groin warm:

  • Volatile Massage Oil Warm-up
  • Tantum Extra Heat Lotion


Cream or gel

A good tip for treating groin pain very locally is to apply a soothing cream or gel. Some gels not only have an analgesic effect but also have an anti-inflammatory effect. An example of this is Ibuprofen gel : this cream also offers the advantage that you do not have to take the medicine orally and therefore avoid unpleasant side effects (e.g. stomach pain).

Inguinal hernia ligament

The most important remedy for groin pain is to make the correct diagnosis and eliminate the cause of the pain. In case of overload, rest can provide relief, followed by appropriate treatment by the physiotherapist. In the case of an inguinal hernia, surgery may sometimes be necessary. Typically this is a relatively mild, fairly routine procedure. On the other hand, wearing a groin brace or inguinal hernia belt can also reduce the complaints. Such a brace or band exerts pressure on the groin, making movement and walking more comfortable. Inguinal hernia ligaments are available in two types: single-sided and double-sided, depending on whether the inguinal hernia occurs on one or more sides of the body. An example of an inguinal hernia belt is the Thuasne Inguinal hernia belt Ortel .

Treating chronic groin pain

When groin pain becomes chronic and causes too much discomfort, treatment with injections can be chosen. In chronic pain in the groin, sensitive nerve branches in the connective tissue between the skin and muscle have become irritated and blocked, causing constant pain. The so-called peri-neural injection therapy (PIT) involves administering subcutaneous microinjections with dextrose and lidocaine to remove these blockages. This quickly reduces the pain in the groin. This peri-neural injection therapy was developed by doctor John Lyftogt from New Zealand and has now become a regular treatment there. You can also receive such treatment in the Netherlands, such as in Alkmaar and Hoogland.

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