Groin pain when walking or running; whom should you visit first?
A number of years ago, I was working with a team of healthcare providers at a track and field event at Fairleigh Dickenson University. One of my colleagues had placed an icepack on an athlete’s groin. The doctor said that during the race, the athlete experienced sharp left groin pain into the inner thigh, Based on the history, the other doctor had him rest on the table.
I asked the athlete a few questions and performed a brief evaluation when I asked my colleague what had happened to this runner. I treated an area in his abdomen and lower thigh and the athlete was now able to walk with little pain, no longer needing to use ice on his thigh. The athlete had a history of muscle pulls and other injuries prior to this event.
Was this a groin strain?
A true groin strain which would be a tear of the adductor or other hip flexor structures would not respond this fast to treatment and it is likely the area would be inflamed and the patient would limp. It is also likely than in the next few days, the area may turn black and blue from the tearing of the tissues.
Most athletes who experience groin strain also have a history of other injuries as well. This may include calf pulls, hamstring pulls, quadriceps pulls and even strained abdominal muscles. Often, a more detailed history can offer a more accurate understanding of why the person is in pain and lead to an evaluation that confirms the mechanism behind the pain.
Groin pain is often related to the way we walk, run, and move.
When we walk, one leg moves forward while the other leg steps back in a crisis cross-type of manner. As the leg moves forward, the upper body moves backward on the opposite side with the arms to counterbalance us. If there is an asymmetry in this due to body mechanics from the ground up, you will adapt to this with treatment patterns that can exacerbate the asymmetry, causing strain through the pelvis as you run, walk or move.
Often, these patterns have been with us our entire lives and they feel normal to us until we hurt or strain those tissues. The connective tissue known as the myofascia will tighten over time and reinforce those poor movement patterns making us less flexible and susceptible to muscle pulls, back and neck pain, sciatic pain and even groin pain. Athletic activities will further stress those tissues.
Groin pain can be devastating for any athlete who runs such as in track and field, soccer, football or baseball. If you train harder, have more injuries and are becoming slower, you have a problem related to movement and adaptation.
While it is true that you can treat the groin pain with rest and ice, you cannot resolve the problem that way and other injuries commonly occur because the actual mechanism behind it had never been addressed. Rehabbing a groin pain problem requires more than going for therapy.
Who is the best healthcare provider to see first to help you feel, and function better?
Chiropractic sports physicians are trained to evaluate and treat the problem holistically, meaning they will take a complete history of the injury and your prior problems, A primary care approach to how you move and function during your evaluation will reveal harmful movement patterns that you developed, maybe from older injuries or from inherited body mechanics or both.
They will evaluate the spine, extremities including your feet and the myofascia that may be keeping you tight and inflexible, without you fully understanding why.
Chiropractors treat using methods such as myofascial release treatment, spinal and extremity manipulation to improve movement and exercises to correct poor movement adaptation. Often, foot orthotics are used to balance the pelvis in someone who has poor body mechanics to help the patient achieve the best result from care.
In our office, we also make sure the patient understands why they hurt and how they can avoid future injuries by offering them the tools they need to take care of themselves. Often, patients will develop long term relationships with their chiropractors who can help them through the years feel better and enjoy a better quality of live.
Who should you see first for groin pain? All roads lead to a sports chiropractor.