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The groin is the area where the leg meets the torso. Common causes of groin and leg pain can include hip joint problems, athletic injuries, and muscular or neurological conditions. In children under 10 years old, pain in this area may be due to Legg-Calve-Perthes disease or an infected joint. Treatment generally involves resting, applying hot or cold packs, and taking over-the-counter medications for the discomfort.
When a person complains of this type of pain, the problem may actually in the hip rather than directly in the groin or the leg. Tight tendons may cause painful iliotibial band syndrome, which usually causes pain on the outside of the hip and thigh. It worsens when the person walks or when pressure is applied. Stretching exercises, massage, hot packs, ice, and rest are often recommended. Corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), or surgical intervention may be suggested to relieve the problem.
The bursae are liquid-filled sacs near the joints that act as padding for the bones, muscles, and ligaments. Trochanteric bursitis, or inflammation of the bursae over the hip, may be the cause of groin and leg pain. The discomfort is usually localized on the outside of the hip and may increase when walking up stairs or getting out of a low chair. Medical professionals typically recommend rest, heat, compression, and NSAIDs to patients with bursitis.
Athletic injuries can also cause pain in this area. An injured muscle may develop myositis ossificans, or become calcified. Sports hernias, also called groin strains, can be quite common. Avulsion fractures, in which the tendons are pulled from the bones, are sometimes seen in soccer players, sprinters, and hurdlers. Sprinters may also suffer from adductor tendinitis. NSAIDs, the application of hot or cold packs, and rest are most often among the treatments.
Neurological conditions sometimes cause pain in the groin and leg. When the sciatic nerve is pinched by vertebrae, pain may be felt in the lower back, and running into the groin, hip, and down the leg. Piriformis syndrome may occur when the piriformis muscle in the lower back is injured, causing swelling and pressure on the sciatic nerve. Treatment centers around reducing inflammation with muscle relaxants or NSAIDs, heat and/or ice, and rest.
Young children with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease may experience groin and leg pain. In this disease, the blood supply to the hip is limited. Without enough blood, the bone becomes more likely to break and does not heal correctly. Treatment is focused on preventing as much damage to the joint as possible. This may be helped by limiting the pressure on the joint until the disease runs its course.
Children may also experience a septic hip joint or toxic synovitis. Pain in the hip, as well as fever, are symptoms of a septic or infected joint capsule. In addition, when children have infected joints, they will typically be unable to stand without help. Toxic synovitis, a type of hip arthritis, is similar, and may include pain in the hip and thigh, fever, and a visibly inflamed hip. Rest, pain relievers, antibiotics, or surgical intervention may be a part of the treatment for these conditions.