Groin Pain From Running: Possible Causes And Treatments

Why do you suffer from groin pain from running, the following article explains some of the reasons and treatments.

Runners’ groins are highly intricate from both a biomechanical and anatomical standpoint. Diagnosing groin pain in runners can be difficult, and managing it can be a tricky task. Though only making up a small portion of running-related injuries, these types of injuries are known to be difficult to overcome.

Running-related groin injuries are not especially common. Injuries from this source amount to only 1-2% of the total.

A 1988 study of those participating in a big race in Switzerland estimated that 2.2% of runners sustained groin injuries, but a 2002 survey of recreational runners in Canada revealed that only 1% of them had such injuries. Only harm inflicted on the adductors was taken into account.

The complexity of the groin can be attributed to the combination of different muscles and tendons found in this restricted region of the body.

Unravelling the intricate dynamics of the groin is the answer to addressing groin suffering among runners. You can imagine the pubic symphysis as the front lower part of the pelvis.

It is the main source for the adductor muscles of the thigh, which make your legs move together and aid the pelvis in keeping its balance while walking or running. Please read Balance Exercises for more.

This is also the spot where the rectus abdominus attaches; it is a substantial, plate-like muscle that makes up your stomach muscles. It has a major part in keeping the pelvis steady while walking or running.

One may deduce that many potential issues could arise in this situation. The good news is that even though groin injuries in runners don’t happen often, a lot of research has been conducted into them because of how frequent they are in sports like soccer.

A research project done by Per Hölmich in 2007 in Denmark looked into the cases of 207 athletes who had endured constant overuse injuries to the groin and discovered that groin injuries could be separated into three main categories.

Injuries to the adductors, iliopsoas and a mixture of the rectus abdominus and adductors are present.

In Hölmich’s investigation of twenty patients affected by rectus abdominus ailment, about 90% of them additionally had an adductor injury as well.

The main purpose of this article is to discuss the connections between injuries to the adductors and the rectus abdominus to groin pain while running. The iliopsoas, while it can bring about discomfort in the region in the vicinity of the groin, necessitates its own individual diagnostic process and therapeutic methodology.

Diagnosing Groin Pain In Runners

Hölmich offers a variety of exams to pinpoint the source of discomfort in the groin area for athletes. This type of injury is characterized by pain and tenderness near the pubic symphysis and difficulty with leg adduction against resistance.

A simple way to check is to put an inflated ball or foam roller between your legs and then press your knees together. If this movement causes hurt, your discomfort in the groin area is due, in some way, to your adductor muscles.

A hallmark of iliopsoas injuries is pain with resisted hip flexion, as well as discomfort and tenderness in the area of the iliopsoas muscle which goes slightly to the outside of the pubic symphysis.

Lie down and see if you have any pain in your iliopsoas by getting someone to press down on your leg or having it pressed against a solid structure while you try to lift it slightly bent at the knee. If you experience discomfort when performing this action, the cause of your injury could be the iliopsoas muscle.

Test for iliopsoas-related groin pain

Pain located above the pubic symphysis, in the bladder or lower abdomen region can be caused by a Rectus abdominus injury.

Doing any type of traditional core exercise, such as planks or crunches, may cause discomfort if your groin discomfort is connected to your rectus abdominis. Keep in mind that adductor damage frequently happens alongside other harm as well.

Possible Causes of Groin Pain from Running

Among runners who have been hurt in the groin area, some may feel discomfort when running and/or soreness following running. The type of harm you incurred can offer clues to what brought it about. Here are the most common causes of groin pain in runners:

1. Pulled Groin

The most typical source of distress in the groin from running is a pulled or strained groin, meaning there is likely a tear in the muscles or tendons located in the groin area.

Studies have indicated that most runners suffer from adductor injuries in the groin area. An adductor strain results in pain and soreness close to the area between the two pubic bones, and the pain intensifies when the legs are moved outward against resistance.

An adductor injury can be determined by inserting an inflatable ball between your thighs and then pressing your legs together firmly to compress the ball. If this produces painful sensations, your adductor muscles are likely contributing to the injury.

The other principal muscle that can be hurt in a typical groin strain is the iliopsoas. You will have soreness when you resist bending your hip, as well as some discomfort around the exterior of the pubic line.

You can make sure that you have this groin injury by attempting to bring your leg up close to your chest while pressing against it with your palm.

Lie down and have either a partner or a strong surface offer resistance while you try to lift your leg while the knee is slightly bent to check for pain in the iliopsoas. If you experience discomfort when performing this movement, your issue is likely associated with the iliopsoas muscle.

2. Adductor Tendinopathy

One of the primary reasons people experience pain in their groin while running is adductor tendinopathy. A hip flexor strain is unlike a groin strain since it tends to have a longer-term history of inflammation and is typically in the tendons of the muscle rather than the muscle fibres themselves.

Adductor tendinopathy is most commonly caused by issues related to the pelvis, such as instability, a rapid bump up in the amount or intensity of running, or a great deal of running downhill. Typically the soreness will appear while running, though it may surface after an intense session, and get worse in the days that follow.

3. Hip Joint Impingement

A condition referred to as femoroacetabular impingement, which is more commonly known as hip joint impingement, is an issue with the hip that usually causes discomfort in the groin. Lots of runners with hip joint discomfort have issues with suffering from soreness in their groin area when they are running and possibly also following exercising.

Inflammation in the hip joint caused by excessive inward rotation of the hip when running can bring about impingement and cause an aching pinch in the nerves or tendons in the ball-and-socket joint. The pain usually develops gradually over several weeks.

4. Osteitis Pubis

Osteitis pubis is a repetitive strain injury, which is often the source of discomfort in the hips between runners.

This ailment advances gradually and is the product of poor core strength and unsteadiness in the pelvis and hips, which then leads to undue strain and movement on the tendons and related tissue fixed to the pubic symphysis.

5. Hip Arthritis

Hip arthritis is a deteriorating illness that refers to the wear and tear of the cartilage between the bones of the hip joint. The joint can experience friction and cracking noises, and the agony may be referred to as the groin area.

6. Hip Stress Fracture

A fracture of the femoral neck or hip caused by too much strain can lead to pains in the groin while running.

7. Pubic Stress Fracture

A stress fracture can occur in the area of or near the pubic symphysis. Running often results in a dull aching in the groin area, and this pain may be felt before the exercise begins.

8. Hernia

A hernia involves a gap in the abdominal wall which can cause the inner components of the abdomen to bulge out and be seen or felt as a lump.

Pain is increased when coughing or sneezing, and if the hernia is situated in the groin area, running can cause discomfort.

Risk Factors For Groin Pain In Runners

There are several training errors and risk factors for groin injuries from running to consider, including the following:

  • Sudden increases in volume or intensity
  • Not warming up before a workout
  • Osteoporosis and/or inadequate caloric and nutrient intake 
  • Excessive downhill running 
  • Weak hips and glutes
  • Trail running
  • Tight hips
  • Overstriding 
  • Sudden twisting or turning
  • Overtraining or insufficient rest and recovery 

Other Potential Causes Of Groin Pain In Runners

In addition to problems with the iliopsoas, adductor, and rectus abdominus muscles, some less common issues can lead to aching in the groin while running.

Before starting a course of action, you need to make sure that these are not contributing to your issues.

One could suffer from a strain break close to the pubic joint. An injury to this area known as a stress fracture will cause an aching discomfort while both walking and when not active, and the area will be delicate to the touch. An x-ray of the bones or, it is better to use, an MRI can determine this. Have a look at The Ultimate Runner’s Guide to Stress Fractures for more information.

Groin pain may be caused by hernias, which are tears in the abdominal wall. Hölmich’s paper explicitly rejected any participants who had either a “standard” (inguinal) or “athletic” hernia, yet a multitude of people who take part in running sports endure these injuries.

A hernia is recognized through the ache in the adductor and rectus abdominus regions that was detailed before and additionally through pain incurred when coughing, sneezing, or changing postures while lying in bed.

It is important to seek medical attention if you feel you may have an inguinal or sports hernia, as they can be very painful, and will not heal without medical intervention. A physical check-up and an MRI Scan could be necessary to determine the condition, and since it results from a tear in the stomach area, an operation normally has to be done to fix it.

At length, torn labral tissues are another not commonly seen but significant source of soreness in athletes who run. The labrum is a cartilaginous band that encircles the hip joint, much like a washer. When the labrum is damaged (sometimes by an abnormal femoral head or hip socket), it leads to hip and groin discomfort.

Labral tears can frequently bring about a mechanical “snagging” sensation in the hip. Furthermore, bending the hip joint, bringing it near the middle of the body, and turning the hip inwards are reliable in evoking pain.

To image the labrum adequately, an MR-Arthrogram must be used; this is an MRI with dye injected into the hip joint, as a standard MRI is not precise enough.

Preventing And Treating Groin Pain From Running

Figuring out the source of your pain from running in your groin region is necessary to correct the problem and return to running without any discomfort.

Resting from running and participating in low-impact cross-training if there is no discomfort are two standard treatments for groin injuries.

Based on the diagnosis, utilization of ice, heat, and physical therapy could be indicated. Operations might be necessary, depending on the kind and level of the damage sustained.

In terms of returning to running and preventing groin pain, runners should implement the following practices:


It is essential to do some exercises to get your body ready before beginning your workout. Doing a warm-up will enhance blood flow to your muscles, increasing your range of movement and stopping muscle strains. For your full workout, do a quick 5-10 minute session of brisk walking or light jogging, then do some dynamic stretching.

Be Mindful of Volume Increases

Running too hard and too much, as well as sudden rises in distance and intensity, puts one at an increased danger of developing groin injuries.

Pay attention to the 10% guideline, meaning you should never exceed an increase of 10% in your running distance from one week to the next. For instance, if your current course of action involves running 30 miles in the course of a week, do not exceed 33 miles in the weeks ahead.

It is critical to observe any sudden increases in intensity. Take care to provide your body with sufficient rest between strenuous exercises since groin strains typically come about after strenuous sessions.

Limit Downhills and Trails

Going downhill or on a trail, hiking puts too much stress on the adductors and pubic symphysis because of the need to keep the pelvis stable. If you are likely to suffer from groinal issues, think about running on land that is more level and consistent.

Examine Your Diet

Ensure your diet includes adequate levels of calcium, vitamin D, protein, and overall calories to help promote healthy bones and accelerate recovery from exercise. Think about talking to your physician or a sports nutrition expert if you have worries.

Strengthen Your Core and Hips

It appears that there is proof indicating that strength training can lead to an important decrease in the risk of groin injury for athletes.

Having a feeble abdominal region contributes to pelvic unsteadiness, meaning the adductors and the pubic symphysis must endure extra tension.

A strong program for runners should focus on fortifying the entire core as well as the iliopsoas, plus the muscles around the hips that promote internal and external rotation, plus adduction and abduction.


Having strong hip flexors, adductors, and hamstrings can increase your chances of suffering from groin injuries. Ensure you are stretching frequently, especially after running.

It is essential to pay close attention to your well-being, and these useful hints will help to prevent any discomfort in the groin area when jogging.

Additional Treatments To Try

Many runners have seen positive results from soft tissue treatments such as Graston Technique, Active Release Technique, or simply rolling their groin area with a large ball (like a medicine ball or well-inflated basketball), which is more efficient than foam rollers that have an awkward design. Although these treatments don’t have the scientific precision of a physical training plan, many runners have experienced favourable outcomes.

When looking into potential new treatments, there is not much data available. There is no evidence that platelet-rich plasma and shockwave therapy would be effective for groin injuries, so it is unlikely that you will find a solution in those treatments.

If the Hölmich et al. protocol does not give you the desired results, it is advised to consult with a doctor to find out if any other factors could be the source of your unpleasant groin pain.

Surgery could be viewed as an ultimate result if you have identified the cause of your discomfort in your groin area as a runner and if you can locate a surgeon who is familiar with operating on athletes.


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