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Groin pain in athletes


Groin pain in athletes is not infrequently a cause of frustration and aggravation to both doctor and patient. Complaints in the groin region can prove difficult to diagnose, particularly when they are of a chronic nature. These injuries are seen more commonly in sports that require specific use (or overuse) of the proximal musculature of the thigh and lower abdominal muscles. Some of the more common sports would be soccer, skiing, hurdling, and hockey. The differential diagnosis can cover a rather broad area of possibilities. Most common groin injuries are soft-tissue injuries, such as muscular strains, tendinitis, or contusions. More difficult areas to pinpoint are such entities as osteitis pubis, nerve entrapment, the so-called "sports hernia," or avulsion fractures, to name but a few. The evaluation of such patients includes a familiarity with the sport and possible mechanism of injury (i.e., taking a careful history), meticulous physical examination of the groin, abdomen, hips, spine, and lower extremities. Diagnostic examinations may or may not prove helpful in formulating a final diagnosis. Some patients may be required to undergo procedures, such as laparoscopic evaluation of the region to obtain adequate information that allows a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. This article describes many of the possible causes of groin pain in athletes. The list is quite lengthy, and only the more common problems will be discussed in detail.

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Correspondence to Kim Edward LeBlanc.

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Presented, in part, at the American Hernia Society annual meeting in the Riverside Hilton, New Orleans, LA, USA in May 2001.

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LeBlanc, K.E., LeBlanc, K.A. Groin pain in athletes. Hernia 7, 68–71 (2003).

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  • Groin pain
  • Athletes
  • Hernia