Diagnosing a Groin Pull
Groin injuries are difficult to diagnose, especially when chronic, however groin pulls are among the most frequent and easily identified groin injury. Groin pulls or strains will often occur along with other groin injuries that may go unnoticed.
To help your doctor achieve a proper diagnosis, he/she will begin with a medical history about you, your current condition and symptoms. He/she will inquire about the intensity of your present pain, the duration of your symptoms and the limitations you are experiencing. Details about what instigated the problem, when it started, and whether or not you have ever had treatments for this or a similar condition in the past, will be very helpful in assessing your injury.
A physical examination will be performed to determine if you have any signs of a groin pull or other groin injuries. Your doctor will visually assess and palpate (feel) the muscles, bones and other soft tissue in and around your pelvis and groin area (near and/or including your genital area) as well as your hip, spine, abdomen, thighs and lower body to evaluate sameness (symmetry), recognize differences and identify pain and tenderness. This will help to discover any abnormalities, such as mild or severe inflammation, fluid, bruising, bone or tissue deformity, alignment issues, muscles imbalances and leg length discrepancies. He/she may ask you to complete a series of hip and leg movements to see what motions cause pain, weakness or instability. This will help to determine the location of your injury (in the muscle belly or near the attachment) and test for the grade of your groin pull. If you have a grade 3 tear, your doctor may also check for signs of osteitis pubis or nerve entrapment. He/she will also evaluate your gait (the way you walk) to determine if you have any adductor or other muscle weakness.
Most Common Groin Pull Diagnostic Tests:
Although groin injuries can be difficult to identify, diagnostic tests will help rule out specific conditions that cause groin and abdominal pain.
X-rays will provide a two-dimensional image of the overall structure of your pelvis and groin. They are helpful in identifying pelvis instability, fractures, abnormal bone shapes (bone spurs or bone cysts, wear and tear on the joints) and/or other groin or hip problems.
Isotope Bone Scans are used to identify bone abnormalities, such as a tear, inflammation, fracture or infection of the pelvic and hip bones. It will also identify whether other groin conditions are present (osteitis pubis, sports hernia, fractures).
MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) will provide more detailed information and will help to evaluate the soft tissues in and around your groin and pelvis (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and other connective tissues). It can identify ligament or tendon damage, and can help to determine the extent of your injury, the grade of your tear or inflammation, as well as other associated groin conditions.
Diagnostic ultrasound (ultrasonography) or CT scans (computerized tomography) can be used to provide a more thorough 2 or 3-dimensional assessment of the soft tissues, organs and bones in and around your groin and pelvis. Ultrasound is useful for diagnosing and locating muscle and tendon tears, but not strains.