Groin pain is pain that occurs where the inner, upper thigh and lower abdomen meet.
The most common cause of groin pain is a muscle, tendon or ligament strain, particularly in athletes who play sports such as hockey, soccer and football. Groin pain might occur immediately after an injury, or pain might come on gradually over a period of weeks or even months. Groin pain might be worsened by continued use of the injured area.
Less commonly, a bone injury or fracture, a hernia, or even kidney stones might cause groin pain. Although testicle pain and groin pain are different, a testicle condition can sometimes cause pain that spreads to the groin area.
Direct and indirect causes of groin pain can include:
- Avascular necrosis (osteonecrosis) (death of bone tissue due to limited blood flow)
- Avulsion fracture (ligament or tendon pulled from the bone)
- Bursitis (joint inflammation)
- Epididymitis (testicle inflammation)
- Hydrocele (fluid buildup that causes swelling of the scrotum)
- Inguinal hernia
- Kidney stones
- Muscle strain
- Orchitis (inflamed testicle)
- Osteoarthritis (disease causing the breakdown of joints)
- Pinched nerve
- Piriformis syndrome
- Retractile testicle (testicle that moves between the scrotum and abdomen)
- Scrotal masses
- Spermatocele (fluid buildup in the testicle)
- Stress fractures
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Testicular cancer
- Testicular torsion (twisted testicle)
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Varicocele (enlarged veins in the scrotum)
When to see a doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if you have:
- Groin pain associated with back, abdomen or chest pain
- Sudden, severe testicle pain
- Testicle pain and swelling accompanied by nausea, vomiting, fever, chills or blood in the urine
Schedule a doctor’s visit if you have:
- Severe groin pain
- Groin pain that doesn’t improve with home treatment within a few days
- Mild testicle pain lasting longer than a few days
- A lump or swelling in or around a testicle
- Intermittent intense pain along the lower side of your abdomen (flank) that may radiate along your groin and into your testicle
- Blood in your urine
If your groin pain is caused by a strain or sprain, these self-care measures might help:
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or acetaminophen (Tylenol, others).
- Place an ice pack or bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a protective layer such as a towel, on the sore area for 20 to 30 minutes two to four times a day.
- Temporarily stop participation in athletic activities. Rest is essential to heal any strains or sprains to your groin.