Anatomy of Getting Kicked in the Nuts

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Anatomy of Getting Kicked in the Nuts

If you’re a man, over your lifetime chances are you’ve been kicked in the testicles or taken a shot to the groin once or twice. All guys know what the impact and painful aftermath feels like though it’s not often easy to explain. Well here’s a breakdown from start to finish; the anatomy of getting kicked in the nuts, so you can re-live the experience and visualize each agonizing step in the process.

Dr. Mirza from outlines what REALLY happens starting from the moment the foot makes contact to the final step being when the body is recovered from the blow.

  1. The moment the foot makes contact with the groin, warning signals are sent to the brain at approximately 265 miles per hour.
  2. Signals from the brain are then sent down the spine and into the groin and abdominal area.
  3. Neurotransmitters called Substance P that alert the brain that it’s feeling pain are then released from within the testicles.
  4. Substance P travels from the testicles up through the spinal column into the brain and is then processed by the part of the brain called the somatosensory cortex, which is responsible for processing physical sensations.
  5. The brain releases endorphins, leading to decreased oxygen levels within the brain, which typically causes a throbbing headache and sometimes nausea.
  6. Because signals are also sent to the abdominal area, as this area shares the same set of pain receptors with the groin, the physical response would likely be holding onto the stomach and bending over and/or falling to the ground and going into the fetal position.
  7. Rapid heart rate, increased body temperature and sweating would also likely occur.
  8. The testicles would swell and the skin of the scrotum would appear red and feel tender/sore.
  9. For some, a part of the brain called the cervical sympathetic ganglia would be activated, which controls the salivary glands of the face, resulting in tearing or crying.
  10. The inner ears could also experience a change in fluids, resulting in dizziness, which would also contribute to the response of lying on the ground with the knees bent or in the fetal position.
  11. Abdominal pain paired with nausea and dizziness could also lead to throwing up, depending on the severity of the kick and the individual’s unique response.
  12. While lying down on one’s back, equilibrium can begin to be reestablished as blood can flow more easily to the brain, providing it with the oxygen it needs to relieve the headache and nausea, as well as deactivating the sympathetic ganglia that caused dizziness and crying/tearing.
  13. Lying down would allow chemical and physical responses within the body and brain to slow down and gradually return to a normal state, however, a substantial amount of fluids could have been depleted due to intense sweating and throwing up.  If this is the case, this person would need to replenish with fluids and get adequate rest in order to make a full recovery.
  14. Depending on the severity of the kick, a person could suffer a variety of injuries to the groin area, which would need to be assessed by a qualified medical professional.

There you have it. An insightful breakdown of what it feels like to get kicked in the nuts. Maybe a little too insightful ha!

Image Courtesy of via Lorimar Film Entertainment
An Officer and a Gentleman


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