Right Side Groin Pain: 10 Possible Causes

Written by Leah Bell-Steele
Physiotherapist, University of Queensland
Medically reviewed by Dr Gina Arena
Research Fellow, University of Western Australia
Reviewed on June 28, 2022

Woman standing in the kitchen with right sided groin pain

Right sided groin pain can have many causes, from a pulled muscle (muscle strain), especially for those who play certain sports, to health issues that need emergency services like ovarian torsion or appendicitis.[1] Other reasons for right sided groin pain may include an inguinal hernia, kidney stones, or neuropathy.

What are the symptoms of groin pain?

Pain and tenderness in the right side of your groin or inner thigh are the usual complaints of people with groin pain. In addition, it is more painful when bringing the legs together or raising your knee, and even a popping or snapping sound is heard if it is from an injury.

Common symptoms of right sided groin pain:

  • Muscle aches

  • Sharp pulling pain

  • Muscle weakness

  • Swelling

  • Pain with walking down stairs

  • Pain with stretching

What causes groin pain?

Right sided groin pain can be caused by overstretching or weakness of the hip adductor muscles located inside the right thigh. Athletes who play soccer, football, and hockey are highly prone to this issue, from the onset of injury or insidiously.[2]

Groin pain during pregnancy

When your uterus continuously expands, this compresses the area around your hip and pelvis, which causes pain in the region, especially the groin. Some women report in the late stages of pregnancy, the head of the baby presses against the pelvic area, causing overall discomfort and intermittent ache in the groin.[3] In rare circumstances, the pain originates from the round ligament varicocele, which connects the uterus to the groin.

10 causes of right side groin pain

There are other possibilities as to why someone experiences pain in their inner thigh or groin, and these include the following:

1. Arthritis in your hip

The vital sign of having hip arthritis is when a person feels a deep, nagging, and knobbing pain at the groin that often goes down to the inner leg and the knee.[4] It can be triggered by standing activities or walking for long periods.

2. Osteitis pubis

Osteitis pubis is a non-infectious inflammation at each side of the hip above the external genital area, in front of the bladder. An individual with this issue can have a sharp pain in the groin, exacerbated by walking, climbing stairs, sneezing, coughing, waddling gait (looking like a duck when you walk), and a low-grade fever.

3. Pinched nerve

Pressure on the nerve from any impingement on the spine, muscles, bones, or tendons can cause pain in the lower limb from the groin. It is secondary to it being the area where most nerves and blood vessels flow through. The most common complaint is a burning or sharp pain in your groin.

4. Hip Fracture

The pain through a hip fracture may present in the groin and the outer upper thigh. Several reasons this happens are weaker bones due to age, cancer, or a stress injury.

5. Inguinal hernia

This condition is more common in men, in which an internal tissue is pushing onto a weak area of your groin muscles. The pain is more specific to the inguinal or groin region.

6. Enlarged lymph nodes

The lymph nodes from the groin’s lymph glands can swell and produce pain in the area due to accidents, infections of the lymphatic system or, rarely, cancer.

7. Femoral Hernia

A femoral hernia is more common in women than men, and this can come from your bowel or fatty tissue that pokes on the weaker spot of your abdominal wall into the femoral canal, causing pain at the top of your groin and the upper thigh.

8. Kidney stones

Kidney stones occur when minerals and salts build up inside your kidney, and they are painful when the particles move within your kidney to the ureter and the bladder, hindering the movement of pee.

Other symptoms are severe pain on one side of the back to the trunk, nausea and vomiting, persistent need to urinate, and when doing so, can be frequent, will only be in small amounts, and with brown, red, or pink urine appearance.

9. Ovarian cyst

Ovarian cyst pain radiates from your groin to the sides between the lower ribs and pelvis. It typically does not cause any issues, and they are not painful. But if symptoms occur, there is pain, pressure, swelling, and bloating on the lower abdomen, where the cyst is. If this ruptures, you may have severe pain, which requires emergency services.

10. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

UTIs lead to moderate or severe pain in the groin that increases whenever you urinate. The usual sequelae of symptoms are persistent need to urinate, which, if done, can be frequent and in small amounts. In addition, the urine can look cloudy, coloured brown, red or pink, and have a strong odour.

Treating right sided groin pain

If groin pain occurs due to an activity, overuse, or injury, it resolves itself gradually. Adequate treatment to relieve pain is through rest and taking anti-inflammatory medications. However, if it persists, a healthcare provider will be able to make a complete diagnosis to see what suits best to treat your condition and any other causes.

When to see your doctor

When the pain does not go away with any position, movement, or rest, especially in the groin area, visit the doctor to figure out the source of your discomfort to develop a care plan. Factors to consider when it is necessary are the following:

  • If a bulge on the area or the pubic bone on the hips is visible, this indicates a hernia.

  • When you cannot urinate, with a prickling pain in the groin, it can be due to an untreated UTI, which, if not given attention, will cause a kidney infection.

  • If you have any symptoms of a kidney stone.

Crucial circumstances that call for emergency services can occur if the groin pain is abrupt and accompanied by fever, vomiting, rapid breathing, weakness, dizziness, and fainting. These are signs of having a ruptured ovarian cyst.

Key takeaways

There are possible explanations for pain on the right side of your groin, like a hernia, kidney stones, or a pinched nerve. Depending on the cause of pain, a doctor can provide treatment to address these concerns.

Written by Leah Bell-Steele
Physiotherapist, University of Queensland
Published on June 28, 2022
Medically reviewed by Dr Gina Arena
Research Fellow, University of Western Australia
Reviewed on June 28, 2022
Medical reviewers
Last medically reviewed on June 28, 2022
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