By: 18 October 2013

HipsShe wasn’t born this way, but even Lady Gaga experienced groin pain – typically a symptom of hip disease such as arthritis of the hip, or, in her case, a hip labral tear. Groin pain is a common health complaint. According to a recent literature review, one in four people develop hip arthritis that could result in groin pain, before the age of 85.

Contributing factors to the development of hip arthritis, and subsequently groin pain, may include one or more of the following:

  • a sports-related injury
  • prior surgery to the hip
  • infection of bone or soft tissue
  • a defect present at birth
  • problems with growth and development
  • traumatic occupational and recreational history, bone fractures, or a history of trauma

The specific symptoms, and the timing and onset of those symptoms, can help to establish the appropriate tests, imaging or referrals to diagnose and treat the cause of the pain.
“Individuals experiencing sudden onset groin pain associated with trauma or bowel/bladder dysfunction, symptoms like fevers or abdominal discomfort, should promptly seek medical attention,” says Juan Suarez, MD, lead author of the study and an orthopaedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic Florida. “But, those with chronic pain, despite time and conservative management also warrant evaluation.”

Young athletes participating in activities such as endurance sports, football, power lifting, ice hockey, and basketball are at an increased risk of developing hip osteoarthritis (OA), the ‘wear and tear’ arthritis caused by frequent high stresses at the joint surface. In addition to hip arthritis, female athletes participating in endurance sports also are more likely to sustain hip and pelvic stress fractures than male athletes.

A detailed medical history and examination by a physician can help diagnose and manage the source of groin pain. “It is important to have a good network of physicians from multiple specialties,” says Dr Suarez. “In my experience, the diagnosis is not always obvious and it may require multiple visits, examinations and referrals prior to reaching the correct diagnosis. A good network facilitates this process.”

The review is published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS).

Junior editor at Fintech Intel