Groin Pain in Children – Causes, Signs, and Treatment
Children are mischievous and naughty by default. So, it’s no wonder they are always getting hurt playing or fooling around. And sometimes they get pains without doing any mischief due to various reasons. Due to their active nature, kids often get hurt, feel pain, and forget all about it as soon as they get better. That’s the beauty of being young. Knowing that their kids will get hurt and have pains, parents sometimes ignore common pains. However, it would help if you didn’t ignore some pains as they indicate something serious. One such frequent complaint in growing-up kids is groin pain.
What Is Groin Pain?
Groin pain is an injury in the groin area when the child overstretches or tears or pulls a groin muscle. A child’s sudden groin pain occurs due to over-stretching or straining of groin muscles, nerves, ligaments, tendons, or bones. Groin muscles are found in the creases where the belly meets the legs on both body sides.
When your child exercises, lifts, or falls, they might strain their groin. Groin pain in a toddler can also happen when the toddler accidentally falls or injures their groin area. The injury might be anything from a slight muscular strain to a catastrophic muscle tear symptomized by fever and groin pain in the child.
When the legs are pressed together, your kid may feel discomfort and soreness that grows worse. When lifting the knee on the affected side, your kid may experience pain. When walking, groin pain in a child may result in swelling or bruising in the inner thighs. If your kid has a severe strain, they may hobble as the injury heals.
Causes and Risk Factors
The actual reason for groin discomfort in kids is hard to ascertain. In most cases, groin pain occurs due to a recent groin muscle injury. Some causes and risks factors of groin pain are:
- Any previous injury
- Lifting of heavyweight or sudden fall
- Excessive exercise
- Strenuous workout without adequate warming up, resulting in muscle tear or strain
- Sudden direction change while running, normally in sports
- Excessive spreading of the legs during stretching exercises
- Injury to the groin muscle as a result of an accident
- Hip inward twisting can irritate the hip joint and cause groin pain
- Impact-induced scrotal contusion, bruise, or damage to the scrotal sac
- Sports hernia, also known as athletic pubalgia
- Hip issues include septic arthritis, hip rheumatoid arthritis, femoral epiphysis, transitory synovitis, developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH), and juvenile idiopathic arthritis
Signs and Symptoms of Groin Pain in Kids
To know whether the child has groin pain, the parents or caregiver can look for these symptoms and signs in the child:
- Severe hip pain with restricted motion of the hip joints.
- Sudden knee pain, thigh pain, and joint pain.
- Difficulty in lifting the knees.
- Abnormal walking style
- Swelling, bruising, and tenderness in the groin area
- Limping on occasion or showing a reluctance to walk
- Testicular growth
- Skin color change of area in and around the groin
- Leg weakness
Treatment for Groin Pain in Kids
The first step to treat groin pain is to know the underlying reason causing it. After determining the cause, the doctor usually advises the children to get adequate rest and no indulgence in strenuous activities such as sports or exercising. The child and the parents must follow the orthopedic specialist’s advice and adhere to activity moderation.
Groin pain normally gets cured on its own in a month or two. However, the following steps can fast-track the healing process and improve muscle strength.
1. Cold Therapy
To ease discomfort and reduce swelling, use an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the groin area several times a day for a duration of 10 to 20 minutes.
2. Warm Therapy
Once the swelling has subsided, use a heating pad or hot water bottle to the groin area. Warm and cold treatment may also be useful in reducing joint and thigh pains.
You can take OTC (over-the-counter) medication or prescribed pain medication to relieve the pain. Doctor consultation is advisable to know the correct dosage.
4. Addressing The Cause
If groin discomfort is caused by a certain activity or training regimen, it is simple to stop or adjust that practice and allow the body to recover itself. A physiotherapist can help the child build their muscles and cure the ailments by providing training and workout advice.
5. Walking Aids
A doctor may recommend walking crutches to help the child walk. To wrap the groin area and reduce muscle strain, use a groin support bandage.
6. Strength and Flexibility
Low flexibility and muscular strength in the groin area induce several groin problems, such as hip flexor strain and adductor tendinopathy. Activities that build core muscle strength can help treat groin issues.
How Can You Prevent Groin Pain in Children?
Groin pain in children can be prevented by following or taking care of a few things. They are:
- Groin pain or injuries in the children can be prevented when the parents tell their children about strengths and limits. Knowing their strengths and limits, the child won’t over-exert or over-strain the muscles when they feel any weakness or pain, thereby avoiding groin strains.
- When the child has prior incidents of groin pain, then you should take precautions to avoid the scenarios that caused it.
- Following an adequate warm-up routine before and cool-down activity after exercising and sports can reduce the chances of muscle injury. It should be followed diligently, especially if the child has a history of groin pain, to prevent it in the future.
- The child should be encouraged to take up a new sport or physical activity or resume the earlier played sport at a slower pace. Once the child gains agility and strength, the intensity and the duration of the physical activity can gradually increase.
- Following a regular exercise routine will help the child develop their core strength and prevent muscle injury.
When to Consult a Doctor?
When the below symptoms and signs are visible in the child, then the parents or caregiver should consult a doctor:
- The child has sudden or severe groin or knee pain after playing some sport or exercising.
- The groin pain has not subsided after proper rest.
- Swelling or change of skin color of the upper thigh region
- Numbness or weakness in the legs or difficulty moving them
It is common for children and teens to have groin pain when participating in sports, exercising, lifting weights, or doing heavy workouts. Fortunately, groin pain is rarely debilitating, and children can naturally recover by taking proper rest and following their physician’s instructions. If the pain persists, however, then they should consult their physician.