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What is the Groin?

By Crystal K. Wilford
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The groin is a part of human anatomy, found high along the inner thighs where the leg muscles join the lower abdomen and form creases in the flesh as the legs meet with the torso. Muscles in the groin are responsible for parting and closing the thighs as well as for holding the thighs together. Activities such as walking, running, kicking, climbing, and riding rely heavily on the abilities of these muscles to rotate the hips and move the legs.

Athletes often suffer injuries when these muscles are pulled, over-extended, or even torn through rigorous exercise and activity. However, even non-athletes can suffer serious harm to the groin and surrounding area. Some jobs like electrical line work, sports like football and baseball, or recreational activities like swimming, running, or horseback riding might run the risk of incurring this injury.

The risk of straining the groin muscles can be lowered in numerous ways. Some methods include proper stretching and warming of muscles before exercise, regular strength exercises to clench and stretch muscles in the area, and using self-control during common physical activities. If a minor injury does occur despite precautions, treatment can be as simple as placing ice to the injured area and wrapping it to ensure steady pressure is maintained. Keep the thighs elevated and make sure to take all activity at a slow pace to ensure swift recovery. In the case of more serious injuries, additional treatment may be required.

Not all groin pain is caused by injured muscles. Sometimes — usually in the cases of women or children — pain in this area may be from trauma to the knees or hips, nutritional problems, underdeveloped muscles, bone growth, or other issues unrelated to muscle tears. Pain may also occur if the ligaments holding the pelvic bones together loosen from repeated, forceful use of one leg over the other, such as when kicking a soccer ball. If pain from the injury does not fade, or increases or returns even without further strain, there may be a more serious injury only a doctor can treat.

Sometimes the term "groin" is used as a non-offensive euphemism for the general area of male or female genitalia. It is also considered a safe or polite term to label the protective athletic gear both genders can use to minimize injury in contact sports. This generalization is often required in areas of the world where openly naming sexual organs is forbidden, or considered rude or vulgar.

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Discussion Comments

By anon991050 — On May 23, 2015

Why is the groin a weakened area?

By oscar23 — On Jun 29, 2011

The groin is one of the places we don’t think too much of; until it gets hurt, of course.

This is a particularly sensitive spot, in my opinion. Maybe it is because it is in the immediate area of the genitals, and sometimes the pain in the groin radiates in that direction. Or maybe it’s because we use the muscles all of the time without realizing it.

Either way, I would advise against doing anything to strain that particular area. I know, anyone active enough to do so probably run the risk of getting hurt on a regular basis. It’s just that this place is a tough one to grin and bear through.

By dimpley — On Jun 28, 2011

Until I was a teenager and experienced a groin injury myself, I thought that only men had groins! (I didn’t say I was a particularly bright teenager, though, now did I?) I had just always heard about this athlete or that one getting a groin injury, and they always happened to be male.

Let me tell you, though, it is totally possible for a cute, little dancer girl to get a groin injury as well.

I guess the best way to avoid them is to stretch and really be careful when being really boisterous.

Otherwise, you can get a really painful groin strain.

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