Understanding Straddle Injury

A straddle injury is when trauma occurs to the groin area between the thighs. It can happen from straddling a hard object, or accidents such as falling onto a bicycle crossbar.

The injury can cause damage to the outer genitals. In women, this is the vulva. It includes the outer and inner labia and the clitoris. In men, this includes the scrotum, testes, and penis. The groin area will likely be bruised, bleeding, and painful. The injury can also damage the tube that sends urine out of the body (urethra), especially for men. A straddle injury may also hurt the area between the genitals and the anus called the perineum. Severe injury can cause breaks in bones in the pelvis. Falling on a sharp object can cause more severe damage to the area and damage to internal tissues, such as the vagina or rectum.

What causes straddle injury?

The injury can happen in many ways, such as a sporting accident or falling while straddling any of these:

  • Bicycle crossbar

  • Fence or wall

  • Gym equipment

  • Edge of bathtub

  • Arm of a couch or chair

  • Diving board

Symptoms of straddle injury

  • Pain

  • Bruising

  • Swelling

  • Bleeding

  • Trouble urinating, especially for men

  • Nausea or vomiting, if testicles are damaged

  • Blood blister under the skin called hematoma

Treatment for straddle injury

Treatments can include:

  • Bandage. Your healthcare provider may put a bandage over any area that’s bleeding. Keep the bandage clean and dry. Change it as often as instructed.

  • Cold compress. This is a cloth wet with cold water, or a cold pack from the refrigerator. It can help lessen swelling and pain. Wrap the cold pack with a thin cloth. Don’t put it directly on your skin. Put the cold compress on the area for 15 to 20 minutes, several times a day for 2 to 3 days.

  • Sitz bath. This means sitting in a shallow tub of warm water. You can have a sitz bath in a bathtub. Or you can have a sitz bath using a special basin that fits over the rim of a toilet.

  • Pain medicine. You may be given medicine to help relieve pain. Or you may be told to take over-the-counter medicine from a drugstore. Take the medicine as instructed.

  • Suprapubic cystostomy. This is a thin, flexible tube (catheter) put into your bladder through a small cut in your lower belly. It’s used to drain urine while your urethra heals. A small plastic bag connects to the end of the tube to collect urine. The tube may be left in place for several weeks or more.

  • Surgery. In some cases, the healthcare provider needs to make repairs to the area. The provider may stitch cuts in the skin or fix internal areas that are torn. Your provider will give you more information if you need surgery.

Possible complications of straddle injury

  • Infection

  • Ongoing problems urinating and need for repair surgery

  • Scar tissue


When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed

  • Pain that gets worse or isn’t better with medicine

  • Other symptoms that don’t get better, or get worse

  • Trouble urinating

  • Blood in your urine

  • Other new symptoms