Sports Medicine

Hip and groin injuries in the athlete

By Gene Hong, MD

Hip and groin pain affecting athletes has received a lot of attention in the media the past few years. Pick your favorite professional sport and chances are there have been any number of athletes that have been affected, to the point where practice and game time, as well as performance, have been impacted.

Since this is football season, you only have to look as far as the other week to read that Corey Clement, starting running back for the University of Wisconsin Badgers, is sidelined with a groin injury. Closer to home, Zach Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles missed time this season with a groin injury. This is no longer an injury that is only prevalent in soccer or ice hockey players.

Tricky injuries to self-diagnose

While the sports medicine community has a better understanding of these injuries, there is still a need for improved evaluation and management of an active person with pain in the hip, groin and core area of the body.

For the athlete with hip, groin or core pain that is associated or exacerbated by their sport or exercise, it is important to differentiate between symptoms that originate from within the hip joint versus those whose genesis is outside of it. This can be very difficult for the athlete to determine themselves unfortunately. And further confusing the issue, is that pain in this area may not even be related to the musculoskeletal system (muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joints)—it might actually be coming from the gastrointestinal or gynecologic organs and systems of the body. The pain could also be referred from the lumbar spine.

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