History: I'm 36 and first started excercising about 7 years ago. I was out of shape, overweight, and depressed. One day I got on a treadmill and did 2 miles. I kinda liked it and ended up entering a 5K race a few weeks later. Very slow time of 34 minutes but I finished it. I started running more and more and started doing triathlons. I soon realized cycling was for me. Well, five years later I'm having to give up cycling because of lower back problems. Being hunched over and stretched out is reaking havoc on my lower back. So, I want to get back into running.
Problem: Whenever I go for a run anymore I get groin pain. It's on my left side only. I first got it a couple years ago when one day I went out for a run and about 3 miles in I started getting a groin pain. Well, I kept running thinking it would go away but it didn't. It got worse and eventually I ended up having to walk, limp actually, the last two miles home. It took a couple months for this to heal up and go away. It was no big deal, however, because I had my cycling and it didn't hurt to ride.
Well, everytime I try to go for a run now I get this same groin pain. I tried a run this morning and I made it only 5 minutes before I felt it starting to tighten up. At 10 minutes I had to stop and stretch it out and then walk. I then turned around and alernated running and walking back home. A year or so ago I was able to go 20 to 25 minutes before the pain started. Now it seems I can't even go 10 minutes. :(
I'm kind of at a loss here and not sure what to do now. I plan on making a Dr's appointment but I'm not very optimistic about Dr's. I just spent the last 6 months going to Dr's, PT's, and other specialists trying to get an MRI for my back. Eventually, 6 months after I first went to my Dr and asked for the MRI, I got the MRI and was told I had a bulging and torn disc and I'm basically SOL.
The only good news is my lower back doesn't bother me when I run. I guess it's becuase I'm more straight up and down and doesn't aggravate the problem. In fact, it seems to make it feel better.
So, back to the groin pain. Anybody have any ideas what is causing the groin pain? What exactly is going on down there? Is it muscles, ligaments, tendons, or what? Could it possibly be a hernia? I know I have a leg length discrepancy. My right leg is almost 1/4 of an inch shorter than my left. Would insoles or orthotics possibly help? Is this simply a stretching thing?
I've tried rest and ibuprofen and that doesn't work. I've tried stretching it out and that seemed to help a little but not really.
Is running and groin pain a common injury? Has anyone else suffered from something similar to this?
I have correlated my pain in running to an increase in cycling - even though cycling itself is not painful. Last year I had outer hip pain when I ran. I had to cut my season short. I stopped everything. I was back to running 6x per week this winter and was fine until I started back in spin class. I approached 4 days per week in spin class and my hip pain returned. I finally got myself to a fairly pain free race season and just four weeks ago I got this groin pain for the first time ever 1/2 mile into my run (that was after and hour bike). I've never felt it before. It's gotten worse during the past month. The day I got that pain was two days after an 80 mile (high elevation) bike ride. I did a lot of miles and climbing that I wasn't used to. I didn't feel like it hurt me that day or the following (which I did not training at all). The Dr. I saw yesterday said he couldn't find anything wrong with me and inferred that my time would be better spent with a psychotherapist. I too am very frustrated. I have an olympic tri that I'm registered for in 4 weeks and I can't run to first base without it killing me. Walking isn't too painful and cycling doesn't hurt. I hope you can offer some insight.
As I read both of these messages I knew that you are both experiencing the same thing, a rotated pelvis. BTW, Gaff 10, you don't need a psychotherapist, that's just a way of saying "I don't have a clue what this is all about so it must be in your mind." I've seen it hundreds of times through the years.
This is such a common problem that I'm in the process of writing a booklet that will explain it to people so I don't need to keep writing it over and over. It displays itself differently in different people, but the root cause is the same:
There is a muscle of the ANTERIOR low back, called the iliopsoas, that originates on the front side of the lumbar vertebrae, goes along the inside of the pelvis, and then inserts into the inside of the thigh bone. When the muscle contracts normally you either bend over, lift your leg, &/or sit down. You can see that this muscle is contracted about 90% of your life, including when you are sleeping and your legs are bent. Eventually the muscle shortens. Then you try to stand up and the muscle is too short to make the stretch for you to stand up straight.
As this happens the pelvis is rotated forward and down and the quadriceps have to shorten or they are too long to do the job. As this happens the now-shorter quads are pulling down on your pelvis, making the problem even worse because the pelvis is now being pulled forward and down by two muscles.
As the pelvis is rotated down in the front, the pubic bone is being pushed back and causing the gracilis muscle to be overstretched. This causes groin and inner knee pain. Your posterior pelvis is moving up so the already tight and in spasm hamstrings are now being overstretched causing butt and posterior knee pain, and the tensor fascia lata muscle of your hip is being torqued causing the ITB to be pulled tight. When the ITB is tight you feel lateral knee pain and lateral hip pain.
Also, the pelvis is now pushing up on the sciatic nerve causing all kinds of problems, and a muscle called the quadratus lumborum is pulling up on the top of your posterior pelvis because it has had to shorten or it was too long to do its job. Now your low back hurts when you sit (the quadratus lumborum is being pulled) and it hurts when you stand up (the iliopsoas), and your knees hurt when you bend your leg, plus your groin is in pain since the pubic is too far back.
It goes on and on, the reason it will take a full booklet with pictures and graphics to explain. In all of these cases it is extremely rare that any medical professional will consider the muscles as causing the problem. I've found that the best doctors for figuring this out is one who is an athlete because he/she has experience with the muscles being too tight.
Anyway, having said all of that, there are self-treatments that work perfectly. I've just posted some on this list so you can look at them.
The good news is that you can do it yourself, and it's actually better for you to self-treat because you can do it more frequently.
Wishing you well,