Many times mild groin pain is caused by a minor injury that you may not have even noticed. Home treatment is usually all that is needed to relieve your pain.
Most of the time when a serious problem is causing groin pain, you will have other symptoms. It is important to look for other signs of illness when you have groin pain but no known injury. Most hernias have other symptoms besides groin pain, though pain may be an early sign of an inguinal hernia. See a picture of an inguinal hernia.
Causes of groin pain
Pain felt in the groin may be coming from other parts of the body (radiating or referred pain). This kind of pain may be caused by:
- A kidney stone passing through a ureter.
- A urinary tract infection.
- Hip problems, especially in children and older adults.
- Infections, which may cause a lump, bumps, or swelling in the groin area. Glands (lymph nodes) in the groin may become enlarged when there is infection in the surrounding part of the body or in the legs or feet. If the infection is minor, the swelling may last a few days and go away on its own.
- Spasm, infection, inflammation, or decreased blood flow (ischemia) in the large intestine.
- Female pelvic problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian cyst, or ectopic pregnancy.
- Male genital problems, such as a skin infection of the scrotum, a prostate infection (prostatitis), or torsion of a testicle.
- A broken hip (fracture), an infected hip joint, or a stress fracture of the hip.
- Arthritis. Arthritis can cause groin pain, stiffness, or a limp.
- Back problems. Spine problems in the back near the lower ribs can pinch the nerves that travel through the groin area and cause groin and thigh pain. Spine problems include a herniated disc or lumbar narrowing (stenosis).
Pulled muscles, ligaments, or tendons in the leg may cause symptoms in the groin. Be sure to look for other symptoms when you have groin pain that is not related to an injury.
Groin symptoms in children
Groin problems may cause pain in the groin, hip, or knee. Common causes of groin symptoms include:
- Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. This condition affects the blood supply or proper placement of the upper part of the thighbone (head of the femur) in the hip socket.
- Slipped capital femoral epiphysis. This condition occurs when the femur slips at the growth plate (physis) and does not fit in the hip socket correctly.
- Developmental dislocation of the hip (DDH). This condition is caused by abnormal development of the hip joint. The femur may fit loosely into the hip socket (subluxation) or be completely out of the hip socket.
- Swelling (inflammation) of the lining of the joint space of the hip (toxic synovitis).
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis. This disease causes inflamed, swollen, stiff, and often painful joints.
- Infectious arthritis (septic arthritis). This is caused by a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection inside the hip joint.
Last Revised: March 1, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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