Groin pain in athletes, both recreational and professional, provides a huge diagnostic challenge. The groin, defined as the region between the trunk and hip, is a complex region; a defect in one part having profound effects on the health of the others. Most commonly seen groin pathology are those associated with the adductor muscles, pubic symphysis, inguinal region, and nerve supply to the groin. It is not uncommon to see more than one pathology in an individual presenting with groin pain.
Common causes of groin pain include:
Adductor Strains: The most common musculoskeletal cause of groin pain is a muscle strain. This occurs when a muscle is stretched beyond its normal capacity or encounters an unexpected opposing force. Signs and symptoms include acute pain over the muscle belly, swelling, and occasional bruising.
Osteitis pubis: An inflammation of the pubic symphysis, believed to be caused by repetitive twisting and cutting motions. Signs and symptoms include pain over the pubic bone and adductors, and usually requires imaging (e.g. x-ray, CT) to provide a definitive diagnosis.
Hernias: A defect of the abdominal wall, usually associated with one-sided pain in the inguinal region and possibly adductor muscles. Aggravated with sudden movements and may be increased with coughing and sneezing.
Nerve entrapments: The nerve supply to the groin becomes entrapped. Usually associated with a deep ache centred on the adductor region. Pain usually increases with exercise and in some cases numbness can be found on the inside of the thigh. Diagnosis and treatment of an active person who has groin pain can offer a much deeper challenge than meets the eye. Seeing an experienced Thorpes Physiotherapist is essential to finding the right treatment in an endeavour to return to sport and avoiding long-term pain.