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Groin Pain In Children: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

Groin Pain In Children: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

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Groin pain in children can occur due to various factors, such as a stretched or injured groin muscle. The pain occurs due to the straining of the groin nerves, muscles, tendons, ligaments, or bones in the groin region. The groin is the area at the juncture of the thigh and abdomen.

Groin pain is common in children active in sports, and parents may seek medical attention if the child’s symptoms persist even after adequate rest.

Read this post to learn more about the causes and management of groin pain in children. 

Causes And Risk Factors For Groin Pain In Children

It is difficult to ascertain the exact cause of groin pain in children. Generally, the pain in the groin area develops due to a recent injury to the groin muscles. It can occur due to (1) (2) (3)

  • A previous injury.
  • Heavy lifting and sudden falls.
  • Heavy workouts without adequate warm-up, leading to muscle strain or tear.
  • Excessive exercise.
  • A Sudden change in direction while running, usually in sports.
  • The spreading of the legs too far during stretching activities.
  • Accidents or injury to the muscle in the groin area.
  • The inward turning of the hips, which may impair the hip joint and lead to groin pain.
  • Scrotal contusion, bruise, or injury to the scrotal sac caused due to impact.
  • Athletic pubalgia, also known as sports hernia.
  • Hip problems such as hip rheumatoid arthritis, septic arthritis, developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), transient synovitis, femoral epiphysis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Symptoms Of Groin Pain

The symptoms of groin pain in children can be mild to moderate and heal on their own. In some rare cases, the symptoms can cause severe pain and be persistent. Your child may not be able to express their discomfort due to groin pain, but parents and caregivers can note these signs and symptoms (3) (4).

  • Acute hip pain and restricted and painful range of motion of the hip joint
  • Abrupt knee pain, joint pain, and thigh pain
  • Difficulty lifting the knee
  • Unusual walking style due to joint pain
  • Tenderness, swelling, and bruising in the groin area
  • Reluctance to walk or limping occasionally
  • Testicular growth
  • Change in skin color in and around the groin area
  • Weakness in the legs

When To See A Doctor?

Parents and caregivers may get a doctor’s appointment if they notice any signs of severe pain in the groin area of their children or the symptoms of groin injuries do not improve after proper rest. The following signs and symptoms warrant medical attention (9).

  • Sudden or acute onset of pain in the groin region and knee pain after some exercise or sports
  • Change of color or swelling of the upper thigh region
  • Difficulty moving the leg, numbness, or weakness in the leg

How To Treat Groin Pain At Home?

The first step in treating groin pain is to identify the underlying cause. The patients are usually advised to get adequate rest and not involve in strenuous activities. It is essential to adhere to the advice of an orthopedic specialist and perform activity modification.

Groin pain usually subsides naturally in a month or two; however, the following actions can help improve muscle strength and speed up the healing process (10) (11) (12).

  • Cold therapy: A towel wrapped over an ice bag can be applied to the groin area a few times a day for 10 to 20 minutes to relieve the pain and reduce swelling.
  • Warm therapy: A hot water bag or a heating pad can be applied to the groin area once the swelling is gone. A cold and warm treatment may also reduce thigh pain and joint pain.
  • Medicine: Prescription pain medications and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can be taken to get relief. However, consult a doctor for the right dose.
  • Addressing the cause: If an exercise or workout routine is the cause of the groin pain, it is easy to stop or modify that in particular and allow the body to heal itself. A physiotherapist can provide training and workout guidance to strengthen the muscles and heal injuries.
  • Walking aids: To assist walking, a doctor may prescribe walking crutches. A groin support bandage can be applied to wrap the groin area and minimize muscle strain.
  • Strength and flexibility: Some groin injuries, including hip flexor strain and adductor tendinopathy, are caused due to low flexibility and reduced muscle strength in the region. Such groin injuries can be managed by doing activities that increase core muscle strength.

How To Prevent Groin Pain In Children?

A groin injury or pain can be prevented by letting the child know their strengths and limits and adhering to a healthy warm-up and exercise routine (13). If the child has a history of groin pain, care must be taken to avoid injuries.

  • Do not overstrain the muscles if pain or weakness is felt.
  • Encourage the child to take up a new physical activity or resume a sport at a slow pace. Once they regain their strength and agility, they can gradually increase the intensity and duration.
  • A good warm-up routine before playing a sport and a cool-down activity after the session can help avoid muscle injuries.
  • Follow an exercise routine to develop good core strength in the body; this will help prevent muscle injuries.

Groin pain is common in children and teens who participate in sports and do exercise and heavy workouts. Fortunately, groin pain is not debilitating in most cases, and the child can recover by taking proper rest and following the doctor’s advice. However, if the symptoms persist, a doctor’s advice is necessary to avoid further damage.

References:

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Anshuman Mohapatra

Anshuman Mohapatra is a biotechnology scientist with more than six years of research experience in analytical chemistry and biotechnology. He has submitted his Ph.D thesis at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati) and served as a research fellow (JRF/SRF) during his Ph.D tenure. His research interest includes analytical chemistry, neurobiology and lipid disorder diseases. Three of his research... more