What causes groin symptoms?

Groin symptoms can be caused by a wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions. This includes infectious diseases, trauma, malignancy (cancer), and other abnormal processes. Groin symptoms can also be due to a problem in another area, such as the lower back.

Injury-related causes of groin symptoms

A common injury-related cause of groin symptoms is a groin pull. A groin pull is a strain of the inner thigh muscles that attach the thigh to the pelvis. Groin pulls are common injuries in sports, such as hockey, running, track and field, soccer, and football.

Groin symptoms may arise from other injuries or injury-related causes including:

  • Bursitis, which is an inflammation of the bursa sacs that cushion joints. When the hip bursa is involved, the pain may radiate to the groin.
  • Hip dislocation
  • Hip injury or trauma to the pelvis, such as a pelvic bone, hip, or femur (thigh bone) fracture
  • Hip ligament sprain
  • Injury to the groin area including the testicles

Infection-related causes of groin symptoms

Groin symptoms can be due to various infections including:

  • Abscess in the groin area
  • Appendicitis, which is an inflammation and infection of the appendix. It generally causes lower right abdominal pain, but may include part of the groin area.
  • Cellulitis (invasive infection of the skin and surrounding tissues)
  • Epididymitis (testicle inflammation usually due to a sexually transmitted disease)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID, an infection of a woman’s internal reproductive organs)
  • Septic arthritis of the hip (rare infection of the hip joint)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia, genital herpes, and gonorrhea

Other causes of groin symptoms

Groin symptoms can also be due to noninfectious conditions including:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Cancer, such as testicular cancer or lymphoma
  • Cyst (benign, fluid-filled pocket of tissue)
  • Hydrocele (swelling of the scrotum)
  • Inguinal hernia
  • Kidney stones
  • Low back injury or pinched nerve
  • Osteitis pubis (inflammation of the pubic bone of the pelvis)
  • Osteoarthritis of the hip
  • Surgery
  • Testicular torsion (an emergency condition caused by twisting of the spermatic cord)

Questions for diagnosing the cause of groin symptoms

To diagnose the underlying cause of groin symptoms, your doctor or healthcare provider will ask you several questions related to your symptoms. You can best help your provider in diagnosing the underlying cause of groin symptoms by providing complete answers to these questions:

  • When did your groin symptoms start? Describe all your symptoms.
  • Are you having pain? Describe the pain.
  • Is there any swelling?
  • Are you having any other symptoms outside the groin area?
  • Provide your full medical history, including all medical conditions, surgeries and treatments, family history, and a complete list of the prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, dietary supplements, and herbal products that you take.

What are the potential complications of groin symptoms?

Complications associated with groin symptoms can be progressive and vary depending on the underlying cause. Because groin symptoms can have serious causes, failure to seek treatment can result in complications and permanent damage. It is important to contact your healthcare provider when you experience groin symptoms or other unusual symptoms for proper diagnosis. Following the treatment plan you and your healthcare provider develop specifically for you will minimize the risk of complications including:

  • Chronic pain/discomfort
  • Decreased athletic performance
  • Disability
  • Fertility problems
  • Impotence
  • Incontinence (fecal or urinary)
  • Spread of cancer
  • Spread of infection
  • Testicle removal


  1. Groin lump. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003100.htm.
  2. Hip. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/menus/hip.cfm.
  3. Hip pain. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003179.htm.
  4. Leg Injuries and Disorders. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/leginjuriesanddisorders.html.
  5. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). http://www.cdc.gov/STD/.
  6. Sprains and Strains. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS). http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Sprains_Strains/default.asp.

What are the signs of groin problems?

Groin symptoms include any type of pain or other abnormality in the groin area. Your groin area is the region where your pelvis ends and your legs begin. The groin is also called the inguinal area. It includes your upper inner thigh, as well as the area where your legs attach to your torso.... Read more about groin symptomsintroduction


What other symptoms might occur with groin symptoms?

Groin symptoms may be accompanied by other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. For example, groin symptoms due to an infection may be associated with a fever and redness and warmth around the affected area.

Symptoms that may occur along with groin symp... Read more about groin symptomssymptoms

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles

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