What are the Most Common Causes of Groin and Leg Pain?

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  • Written By: Deborah Walker
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2018
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The groin is the area where the leg meets the torso. Common causes of groin and leg pain can include hip joint problems, athletic injuries, and muscular or neurological conditions. In children under 10 years old, pain in this area may be due to Legg-Calve-Perthes disease or an infected joint. Treatment generally involves resting, applying hot or cold packs, and taking over-the-counter medications for the discomfort.

When a person complains of this type of pain, the problem may actually in the hip rather than directly in the groin or the leg. Tight tendons may cause painful iliotibial band syndrome, which usually causes pain on the outside of the hip and thigh. It worsens when the person walks or when pressure is applied. Stretching exercises, massage, hot packs, ice, and rest are often recommended. Corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), or surgical intervention may be suggested to relieve the problem.

The bursae are liquid-filled sacs near the joints that act as padding for the bones, muscles, and ligaments. Trochanteric bursitis, or inflammation of the bursae over the hip, may be the cause of groin and leg pain. The discomfort is usually localized on the outside of the hip and may increase when walking up stairs or getting out of a low chair. Medical professionals typically recommend rest, heat, compression, and NSAIDs to patients with bursitis.


Athletic injuries can also cause pain in this area. An injured muscle may develop myositis ossificans, or become calcified. Sports hernias, also called groin strains, can be quite common. Avulsion fractures, in which the tendons are pulled from the bones, are sometimes seen in soccer players, sprinters, and hurdlers. Sprinters may also suffer from adductor tendinitis. NSAIDs, the application of hot or cold packs, and rest are most often among the treatments.

Neurological conditions sometimes cause pain in the groin and leg. When the sciatic nerve is pinched by vertebrae, pain may be felt in the lower back, and running into the groin, hip, and down the leg. Piriformis syndrome may occur when the piriformis muscle in the lower back is injured, causing swelling and pressure on the sciatic nerve. Treatment centers around reducing inflammation with muscle relaxants or NSAIDs, heat and/or ice, and rest.

Young children with Legg-Calve-Perthes disease may experience groin and leg pain. In this disease, the blood supply to the hip is limited. Without enough blood, the bone becomes more likely to break and does not heal correctly. Treatment is focused on preventing as much damage to the joint as possible. This may be helped by limiting the pressure on the joint until the disease runs its course.

Children may also experience a septic hip joint or toxic synovitis. Pain in the hip, as well as fever, are symptoms of a septic or infected joint capsule. In addition, when children have infected joints, they will typically be unable to stand without help. Toxic synovitis, a type of hip arthritis, is similar, and may include pain in the hip and thigh, fever, and a visibly inflamed hip. Rest, pain relievers, antibiotics, or surgical intervention may be a part of the treatment for these conditions.


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Post 10

I have really bad pains in my lower abdomen and both sides of my groin. If I walk or stand too long, I get pins and needles in my groin and down my legs. I've had a stomach scan and womb and ovaries scan which were all clear. I'm in so much pain and still no answers as to what is wrong.

Post 9

I play soccer and one day a few years ago I went to get up off a chair and twisted a weird way. I felt a slight pain and decided to stretch it out and my groin area clicked. Ever since then, if I do a hard training session or play a game, that groin is sore for about 30 minutes after, then it goes away and sometimes when I stretch my groin it clicks. Could anyone tell me what the problem is and what I can do to fix it?

Post 8

I am feeling a lot of pain in my right groin and right leg. I don't know what has caused it.

Post 7

I think the most common cause of groin and leg pain is exercising improperly, or picking up an exercise routine after a long absence. I am one of those people that seems to start and stop exercise programs all the time and whenever I start working out my legs again they are incredibly sore for the first week or two.

Luckily, the solution to this is pretty obvious; try to stick with an exercise routine. Easier said than done, I know, but it is worth it to avoid the mornings of creaky legs.

Post 6

Is groin and leg pain normal after total hip replacement surgery? If so, how long does it last?

Has anyone here had partial or total hip replacement and experienced these symptoms during their recovery? I'm asking for my elderly neighbor who got this surgery last month.

Post 5

@turquoise-- Have you been to a doctor? And have you tried hot or cold compression at home to see if it helped?

It could be a pulled/strained muscle in your groin that's radiating pain down into your leg. But you really can't know until your doctor examines you.

I don't think you should delay a visit to the doctor about this. I don't mean to scare you, but it could be something serious like a hernia in the groin. My grandfather had this and he had two surgeries for it. He suffered a lot because he wasn't aware of his hernia for a long time and wasn't careful.

Post 4

I've been having constant pain on the right side of my groin as well as left leg pain. I don't remember hurting myself, I'm not sure how it happened. Could it be a pulled muscle?

Post 3

When my son ran track in high school he was a sprinter and many times would complain of leg pain. This didn't stop him from competing though. If it was really bad he would take some pain relievers and put ice on the area that was sore.

He always did a good job of stretching before he ran, but still ended up with quite a bit of pain. The only time this pain bothered him was after he ran a lot, so it was something that wasn't all that serious.

Post 2

When I was younger I had a lot of leg pain at night. In the middle of the night my legs would start aching and wake me up. I was told I just had growing pains because there wasn't any other reason found for the pain. I wasn't quite sure what growing pains were, but I eventually outgrew them and my legs haven't ached like that for a long time.

Post 1

Once when my husband was breaking a horse he was caught off guard when the horse turned suddenly and he ended up with severe pain in his groin and down his leg. He took some over-the-counter pain relievers but that didn't really even touch his pain.

In the middle of the night we made a trip to the emergency room and they took x-rays and checked him out and told him he pulled a groin muscle. They gave him muscle relaxers for the pain, but it still took a few days for the pain to completely go away.

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