Pectineus Muscle: Groin and Pelvic Pain

What pain and symptoms are associated with the pectineus muscle?

Pectineus muscle

Pectineus muscle contributes to pain in the groin, pelvis, and upper thigh.

  • Pain in the fold where the leg joins the body
  • Groin pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain increases when walking
  • Sleeping with a pillow between the knees eases the pain

Where is the pectineus muscle?

It connects to the pubic bone to the top of the thigh bone.

What movements does the pectineus control?

  • Moves the thigh in toward the body
  • Twists the thigh toward the body
  • Moves the thigh forward
  • Rotates the thigh out away from the body

Activities that cause pectineus muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Sitting with legs up and crossed for long periods of time (recliners, sleeping)
  • Slipping or a misstep
  • Spreading legs too far apart vertically or horizontally
  • Power walking
  • Gymnastics
  • Splits
  • Horseback riding
  • Lifting with legs spread too far apart
  • Hip replacement surgery

Interesting facts about the pectineus muscle:

  • The pectineus is the highest muscle of the inner thigh
  • Pectineus is derived from the Latin word pecten meaning comb. The shape, size, and ridges in the muscle resemble the long tooth combs that women used to wear in their hair.
  • The pectineus is often injured when a person starts a regimen of power walking. During power walking, a person will often extend their stride, reaching farther than they would in a normal stride. Overextension while walking or running can stain the pectineus.

Clinical diagnoses to which the pectineus muscle symptoms may contribute:

Pectneus Musle

You use the pectineus muscle when you twist your thigh inward and when you move your thigh forward.

  • Hip joint disease
  • Pubic stress symphysitis
  • Sprain/Strain of the thigh
  • Groin pull


Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the pectineus muscles:

Satellite Trigger Points: Iliopsoas, Adductor Magnus, Adductor Brevis, Adductor Longus, Gracilis

Affected Organ Systems:  Urinary and Reproductive Systems

For anatomy information: Pectineus Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Help with Pectineus Groin Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Warm Therapy Gel For Groin and High Thigh Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and professionally in my massage therapy practice. It works better than other over the counter heating creams, providing therapeutic warmth without burning heat.  Applying Sombra to the muscles on the front and inside of the thigh can help bring relief for chronic pectineus pain. (Be VERY careful to not get Sombra on genitalia!)  I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and injuries over a week old. If you have recently pulled or have sudden onset pain in the groin area, I recommend Biofreeze below.

Cold Therapy Gel For Pectineus Muscle Injury and Pain

Biofreeze is recommended for recent muscle injury

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I recommend it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries.  It is better to use than warm therapy gels and creams for muscle pain caused by inflammation as it cools the area much like ice. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If  your pain is from a recently strained groin muscle I would recommend Biofreeze. (Again, be VERY careful to not get Biofreeze on genitalia!)

Hot and Cold Multipurpose Wrap For Thigh and Groin Pain


The Hot Thermal and Ice Cold Compress Therapy Gel Pack Wrap is adjustable and is a great choice for a multipurpose pack to use on your thighs, knees, hip, and back.  the wrap can be wrapped around the upper thigh for pectineus muscle treatment.  The pack can be put in the freezer and used for cold therapy on recently injured muscles to reduce pain and swelling. The pack can also be put in the microwave for warm therapy for chronic pain and stiffness. Solid quality construction that will last for a long time. Made in the USA

Pectineus Muscle and Groin Brace and Support 

cramer-groin-wrap_sm The Cramer E6 Groin Hip Spica can help provide compression and support to a pulled or strained pectineus and other groin muscles. Adjustable Velcro closure can be adjusted for a snug fit. I do not have experience with this support but it was recommended by a chiropractor and is highly rated on a physical therapy site on the internet. The Cramer E6 Groin Hip Spica is a full wrap and support for groin injuries. The wrap is made to fit high up on the thigh and around the hip with an abdomen band that will hold the wrap in place. The brace is pliable neoprene which provides warmth and making it comfortable to wear. Recommended by Physical Therapists and athletic trainers for high thigh and groin injuries.


Sub Sports RX Graduated Compression Leggings – Men

Compression Shorts and Leggings for Groin Muscle Support and Injury Recovery


Sub Sports RX Graduated Compression Shorts -Women

Compression wear is not just preventative wear for exercise. Compression wear can also aid in muscle injury support and reduce swelling during recovery time. If you are considering compression wear look for graduated compression. Graduated compression provides tight compression at the lower end of your limb and gradually decreases compressive force toward the top of the limb. This is important for circulation and inflammation reduction. The Sub Sports RX Graduated Compression Baselayer Leggings / Tights provide great comfortable compression at a reasonable price. The Men’s Base Layer Shorts and long leggings or Base Layer Shorts for Women are a good choice for pectineus muscle and other groin muscle support during exercise or injury recovery. The Sub Sports RX Graduated Compression Shorts come in all sizes and have a choice of colors. Can be worn alone or under pants.

For those who prefer compressive leggings see:  Long Leggings for Men and  3/4 leggings for women


Massage Tools for Self Treatment of the Pectineus Muscle


I recommend the Tiger Tail 18″ Roller to use on both upper and lower leg muscles to help relieve tension and pain. I like the Tiger Tail for its ease of use and because it does not strain the wrists and hands. You do not have to contort into different positions or get on the floor or up against the wall to use this foam roller, simply roll it up or down the muscle. The 18″ is a good size to use on leg muscles as well as other muscles. This roller is also recommended by physical therapists, athletic trainers and doctors for self-treatment of muscles in between appointments. To use the Tiger Tail on the pectineus and other groin muscles start on the inside of the thigh, and roll down the thigh down past the knee. (Start off gently, this area can be very tender).  Start with light strokes for a minute or two and build into more pressure and more time. Do not overdo as you can irritate the muscles!

Self Treatment Massage Techniques For Pectineus Groin Injuries

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.

Do you know that small knots and other dysfunction the pectineus muscle can contribute to groin and pelvic pain?

Groin and pelvic pain can be debilitating. If you have unresolved pain  I  recommend that you purchase Claire Davies  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language.  But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain,  how to find the trigger point and treat it. He also provides stretching and strengthening exercises for each muscle.  It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body.  If you have unresolved groin and pelvis pain you may want to learn about the trigger point in the pectineus muscle as well as other thigh and hip muscles to help you resolve your pain. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.





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