Groin pain is common in various sports, with sprinting near the top of the list.
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When your running is going well, your legs may feel like they're moving in a perfect rhythmic symphony. The number of muscles, tendons and joints involved, however, means that at any time, you're only a wrong step or jarring movement away from an injury. The pelvis and thigh share a multitude of moving parts, and pain along the inner thigh is a common complaint.
The adductor muscles originate in the pelvis and run down along the inner thighs. Their function is to bring the thighs closer together. Accelerating or abruptly changing direction, in the manner of a soccer player or track athlete, stresses the adductors, ultimately leading to painful inflammation of the tendons connecting the muscles to the pelvic bones. The pain is usually strongest at the groin and often radiates almost to the knee on one or both sides. Whereas an adductor pull or strain happens all at once, tendinitis is chronic result of multiple small disruptions. Treatment includes taking a break from running, icing, anti-inflammatory medications and in stubborn cases rehabilitation exercises.
A sports hernia, also known as Gilmore's groin or athletic pubalgia, is common in runners and other athletes who do a lot of repetitive movements, such as kicking, that stress the groin and pelvic area. It occurs as a result of acute or chronic damage to the muscle sheath connecting the lower abdominal muscles to the inguinal ligament of the groin and is often misdiagnosed as an adductor strain because of the location of the pain. It differs from a classical hernia, in which a loop of intestine protrudes from a weak spot in the abdominal wall. Surgery is the treatment of choice for a persistent sports hernia that fails to respond to strengthening exercises; thanks to advances in laparoscopic techniques, you can be back out running within a four to six weeks of a procedure.
SI Joint Dysfunction
Sacroiliac, or SI, joint dysfunction is one of a number of running injuries that can manifest as inner-thigh pain even when the actual pathology occurs elsewhere, according to William O. Roberts, writing in Runner's World. This joint connects the sacrum, the triangular bone at the bottom of your spine, with the iliac crest of your pelvis. This strong joint transmits forces from the upper body hips and legs, acting to absorb shock. SI joint dysfunction often eludes diagnosis owing to the referral of pain to the lower back and the leg as well as the inner thigh. Initial treatment includes rest, ice, heat and medication, and you may need physical therapy to fully resolve the problem.
Osteitis pubis, or pubic-bone stress injury, is a type of overuse running injury that often mimics an adductor strain or adductor tendinitis. Despite the suffix "-itis," there may actually be no inflammation present. In addition to radiating about the inner thigh one or both sides, discomfort typically centers on the pubic bone itself, in the midline below the lower abdomen. Treatment necessarily includes taking time off from running -- sometimes a few days, but up to three months in severe cases. You can take anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen for symptom relief.