Difference Between Hernia & Groin Pull


The symptoms of a hernia and groin pull are very similar so it is easy to confuse one with the other. Understanding the causes and symptoms of each may help you to differentiate between the two.

Man stretching legs
Man stretching legs (Image: Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

What is a Groin pull?

A groin pull is when you injure abductor muscles, also known as groin muscles. Your groin muscles are actually six muscles that start at your inner thigh and span to your inner pelvis. These muscles are responsible for moving your legs and hip joints. When you stretch these muscles too far, they can become strained. More severe strains can actually tear the muscle fibers.

Friends playing football in park
Friends playing football in park (Image: Sean Murphy/Lifesize/Getty Images)


The level of pain you are experiencing depends on the severity of the strain. A level 1 strain is minor pain with no disability. With a level 2 strain you will experience moderate pain with some discomfort when walking. There may also be swelling and bruising in the area. A level 3 strain will cause severe pain, muscle spasms, swelling and bruising.

Man resting on bench
Man resting on bench (Image: Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images)


Treatment varies with the severity of the injury. The most important part of a successful treatment is to get plenty of rest. Don’t overuse the muscles. Refrain from activities that will aggravate the injured muscles, such as jumping, running or excessive walking. Stretching can be helpful, but only if it is gentle. Too much stretching can hinder the healing process. Make sure you ice the area within 48 hours of the injury. This will stimulate blood flow to the area and slow down the body’s inflammation process. You can also apply a heat pack before you participate in activities. The heat helps to loosen the muscle which will protect against future strains.

Woman holding hot water bottle on stomach
Woman holding hot water bottle on stomach (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

What is a Hernia?

The most common hernias occur in the abdomen. A hernia is when the muscles of the stomach wall weaken to such a point that a hole or defect develops. Sometimes existing medical conditions such as pregnancy, COPD or dyschezia can put enough pressure on the abdomen and cause a hernia.

Doctor touching patients abdomen
Doctor touching patients abdomen (Image: Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images)


The symptoms between a hernia and a groin pull are very similar. A hernia is usually accompanied with pain in the abdominal region and the groin. Men may also experience testicular pain. Some people have increased symptoms when sneezing and coughing. Bending over may also cause increased pain to the injured area.

Man bending over
Man bending over (Image: John Howard/Photodisc/Getty Images)


The initial treatment for a hernia is much like a groin pull. You rest to avoid doing further damage to the muscles, ice the area and take anti-inflammatory medications. Depending on the doctor, you may also be put in physical therapy. If none of these measures work, surgery may be required to repair the weakened area of the abdominal wall. Rehabilitation usually takes about eight weeks.

Woman with physical therapist
Woman with physical therapist (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

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