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Testicle Injury FAQ

If my testicles are injured, say from a knee in the groin while playing basketball, can I treat the injury myself?

If the injury is not serious, you can take these steps:

  • Take a painkiller such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help get rid of the pain.
  • Use an ice pack on the area -- not directly on the skin -- to help prevent swelling and ease pain.
  • Place a rolled-up towel under the testicle when you lie down.
  • Take it easy for a few days after an injury.
  • Avoid strenuous activity.
  • Wear supportive underwear for a few days to gently support the testicle.

Can there be serious complications?

Two of the most serious complications are testicular torsion and testicular rupture.

What is testicular torsion?

Testicular torsion can happen from an injury, like being kicked in the groin, or from strenuous activity. Sometimes it can even happen for no apparent reason.

With torsion, the cords holding the testicles in place can become twisted. This cuts off the blood supply to the testicle. The result is a lot of pain. The testicle also gets bigger, feels tender, and begins to swell.

This is a medical emergency. It should be treated within six hours of when it happens.

Sometimes, the doctor can treat it by untwisting the testicle. Sometimes surgery is needed. If it isn't treated, you could lose the testicle or lose its function.

What is testicular rupture?

Testicular rupture is very rare. It can happen from a direct, forceful blow. It can also be caused by the testicle being pressed against the pelvic bone.

Testicular rupture causes a lot of pain and swelling. It also causes nausea and vomiting. A rupture causes blood to leak into the scrotum. The damage requires surgery to repair.

How can I prevent injury to my testicles?

First, be sure to always wear the proper equipment when playing sports that put you at risk.

For example:

  • Athletic cups can be worn when playing sports like baseball, football, soccer, hockey, or karate. The cups are made out of hard plastic. They cover the groin area to protect it from injury.
  • Athletic supporters, or jock straps, are made out of cloth. They have a special pouch that holds the testicles close to the body during strenuous exercise, cycling, or heavy lifting.
  • Always follow the instructions of your coach about any additional protective gear that you should wear. Don't be afraid to ask questions if there is something you don't understand.

Always be sure to wear the proper size cup or supporter. One that's too large or one that's too small will not protect you from injury. Talk with your coach or your doctor if you have any questions about what to use.

Injuries to your testicles can be painful. But they don't have to stop you from a healthy and exciting lifestyle. Just remember, they are not common, they are seldom serious, and you can take steps to protect yourself from injury.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Daniel Brennan, MD on October 22, 2013

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