Groin strThe key difference between groin strain and hernia is that, in a hernia, the pathology is the displacement of normal organs from their original position via a defect in the containing wall. But, in a groin strain, the pathology is the adductor muscle tear.
Groin strain and hernia are two common conditions that occur frequently among athletes. A hernia is the protrusion of an organ through its containing wall. On the contrary, a tear of the adductor muscles of the thighs is known as a groin strain.
What is Groin Strain?
Groin strain refers to a tear of the adductor muscles of the thighs. This is a sports injury that occur in athletes most of the time. Therefore, a sudden lateral movement of the thighs is the cause of tear.
- Limitations in the movements
- Warmth and tenderness over the inner aspect of the thigh
The diagnosis is usually made based on the clinical findings. An x-ray is useful to exclude other possible causes such as fractures and bursitis.
Depending on the degree of involvement of muscle fibers, a strain can be categorized into three stages,
- Stage 1- a minority of muscles fibers are torn
- Stage 2 – here most of the muscle fibers are torn
- Stage 3 – most of the muscle fibers including the muscle tendon are damaged.
Rest alone can heal a groin strain. The doctors prescribe analgesics to alleviate the pain. If the damage is more serious, they may prescribe anti-inflammatory steroids.
What is Hernia?
A hernia is the protrusion of an organ through its containing wall. Since a majority of the hernias arise from the abdominal wall, bowels are the protruding organs in most of the varieties of hernias.
Common Varieties of Hernia
- Inguinal hernia
- Femoral hernia
- Umbilical hernia
- Epigastric hernia
- Incisional hernia
A spigelian hernia, obturator hernia, and hernias in the buttock are the rare varieties of hernia.
Causes of hernia
- Any condition that gives rise to a chronic increase in the intraabdominal pressure can be the precipitating factor for a hernia. A chronic cough, urinary tract obstruction, weightlifting and chronic constipation are the common etiological factors.
- Connective tissue disorders can also give rise to hernias.
Categories of hernias based on the clinical features are;
- Occult – these hernias are not clinically detectable
- Reducible- the patient can manually reduce the hernial contents into the body cavity.
- Irreducible- it is impossible to reduce the contents of the hernial sac.
- Strangulated – the contents of the hernia have undergone torsion and strangulation. In this case, the patient presents with intense
- Incarcerated- the organs or parts of the organs that have protruded out have undergone ischemic necrosis.
The last two forms are the most dreaded complications of hernias. Along with the severe pain, the patient can have symptoms of bowel obstruction such as nausea, vomiting, and obstipation.
Regardless of the type, it is advisable to treat all the types of hernias with herniotomy and mesh repairs to prevent the risk of complication such as strangulation and incarceration.
What is the Difference Between Groin Strain and Hernia?
Groin strain is a tear of the adductor muscles of the thighs while a hernia is the protrusion of an organ through its containing wall. This is the key difference between groin strain and hernia. The symptoms of these two conditions too differ. The symptoms of groin strain are; pain, swelling and therefore, limitations in the movements. On the other hand, the hernias, which are usually asymptomatic may become painful and, if become complicate, there can be features of bowel obstruction such as constipation and vomiting. The below infographic presents the difference between groin strain and hernia in a tabular form.
Summary – Groin Strain vs Hernia
A tear of the adductor muscles of the thighs is known as a groin strain while a hernia is the protrusion of an organ through its containing wall. In a hernia, there is only a change in location of the organs, but in a groin strain, the affected organs, i.e. the adductor muscles, are damaged. This is the difference between groin strain and hernia.
1. Kumar, Parveen J., and Michael L. Clark. Kumar & Clark clinical medicine. Edinburgh: W.B. Saunders, 2012. Print. Ser. 8.