Inguinal ligament pain

What is inguinal ligament pain?

The inguinal ligament is a strand of connective tissue that runs around the hip. It is an extension of the muscles of the abdominal wall and connects the pubic region with the outer hip scoop on both sides. The inguinal ligament forms a boundary between various anatomical structures and represents the transition from the abdomen to the groin region to the leg.

In the area of ​​the inguinal ligament there are numerous blood vessels, nerves, lymph node stations, muscles, tendons, ligaments and other conduction pathways. Pain in this area can result from a variety of causes and can be uncomfortably sharp. They can be intensified primarily through movements and radiate into neighboring regions such as the hip, leg or genital region.

As a rule, they occur unilaterally because the complaints are local.

Read more about the anatomy of the inguinal ligament at: The inguinal ligament



A strain is a potential cause of pain in the groin. The inguinal ligament itself can be pulled or one of the numerous other muscular structures in the groin area is affected. The inguinal ligament can be pulled during sports or with rapid jerky movements. Elevating the knee particularly high or taking large lunges can stretch the inguinal ligament.

Parts of the abdominal muscles or the upper leg muscles can also be responsible for the pain in the groin. An important muscle that pulls under the inguinal ligament in the direction of the leg is the so-called "psoas muscle", which can be pulled when the leg is overstretched and when fast sprints are performed. It causes pain that is localized at the level of the inguinal ligament.


Inflammation in the area of ​​the inguinal ligament can originate from various conduction pathways and, due to the anatomical complexity of the groin, are often difficult to assign to an exact structure. Inflammations are primarily noticed by typical signs of inflammation. These are redness, pain, overheating, swelling and impaired function.

The muscles and tendons can be inflamed and painful from mechanical irritation. The pain is especially increased when moving the hip joint. The hip joint can also be behind it. Long-term degenerative changes or acute illnesses can cause inflammation in the joint, which manifests itself as pain in the groin.

More rarely, lymph nodes, the inguinal canal or parts of the intestine can also cause inflammation of the inguinal ligament. One of the most common causes of inguinal ligament pain is an inguinal hernia, in which part of the intestine protrudes from the abdominal wall. In unfavorable courses, the affected section of the intestine can develop extremely painful inflammations.

More rarely, however, the cause of the pain can be in the pubic area. Inflammation of the testicles and epididymis, for example, can project into the groin area and cause considerable pain.

After sport

Exercise is the number one cause of harmless and temporary pain in the groin. Various sports can cause injuries to the inguinal ligament as well as the muscles of the thigh, hip and abdominal wall and lead to pain in the inguinal ligament. These include sports such as basketball, football and other so-called "Stop & Go“Sports. Swimming and jumping sports also cause multiple injuries in the groin area.

Hurdler runners are most severely affected, as the sudden hyperextension in the hip joint puts a special strain on the inguinal ligament. It is important to warm up and stretch your muscles and ligaments before practicing sports, especially in cold seasons. In the event of an acute strain or tear, the sport must be interrupted and the groin cooled.

Meralgia paraesthetica

Meralgia paraesthetica is pain that is caused by compression of a sensitive nerve in the thigh. This is a small superficial nerve that can lead to sensory abnormal sensations in the outer thigh. The nerve runs through the fibers of the inguinal ligament and can be compressed in the process.

This can be due to an inexplicable thickening of the groin ligament, pregnancy, tight pants, weight gain, swelling of the groin, and muscle thickening. Initially, tingling and pins and needles may appear on the thighs, later pain and numbness.

Read more about this under: Meralgia paraesthetica

Concomitant symptoms

In the case of groin strains, inflammations, sports injuries and other diseases of the groin region, pain is the main symptom. This can be dull, piercing or radiant and take on very different intensities. The pain often restricts movement in the hip joint.

Concomitant diseases of the hip joint can also lead to grinding and rubbing of the joint. In the case of an inguinal hernia, on the other hand, visible protrusions of the intestine can be recognized in the groin area. These are soft to the touch and can be pushed back manually.

On the other hand, there is swelling of the groin when there is inflammation. They can be hard, painful, red and overheated. In addition, in rare cases, fever and other signs of infection can occur.


The diagnosis of inguinal pain begins with a detailed discussion of the symptoms and a physical examination. The various anatomical areas in the groin are so complex that an approximate cause can be determined by combining certain complaints. The physical examination always includes palpation of the groin and a mobility test of the hip joint.

With the help of an ultrasound examination, various causes can still be ruled out. Effusions, swellings, inflammations, but also parts of the intestine with inguinal hernias can be recognized. Muscle strains are often difficult to diagnose in more detail. With the help of an MRI examination, the soft tissue in the groin region can be examined more precisely and with high resolution.


Muscle and ligament strains are one of the most common causes of pain in the inguinal ligament. The most important therapeutic approach is to protect the hips for a sufficiently long time. Inflammation can also subside at rest. In the acute phase, a combination of rest, compression, cooling and elevation should be used to prevent swelling and pain.

Other causes of the pain require individual therapies. The common inguinal hernia, for example, often has to be treated surgically (see also: Surgery for an inguinal hernia). In most cases, inflammation can be treated conservatively with pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs. The therapeutic range for diseases of the hip joint, on the other hand, is heavily dependent on the symptoms and includes conservative, medicinal and surgical measures.


The duration of the pain in the inguinal ligament can vary considerably and depends on the severity of the injuries or diseases of the anatomical structures in the region of the inguinal ligament. Groin strains, ligament, tendon and muscle injuries can take on very different healing processes. With sufficient rest, slight strains can subside within a few days.

Serious strains or even tears in individual muscles can cause discomfort for months. Chronic courses over more than 6-12 months are also possible. An example of this are degenerative diseases of the hip joint, the pain of which often only subsides after the prosthesis has been installed.

But also with other diseases of the organs in the groin area, the pain can persist for different lengths of time. In addition to medication pain therapy, it is always important to eliminate the cause of the symptoms. As a result, the pain usually subsides on its own within a short time.