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Causes of groin pain

hernienzentrum Dr.Med.Enrico Pöschmann
hernienzentrum 20-Oct. 2022

Men who play sports intensively or even practice a sport professionally complain about groin pain time and again. The stabbing, burning pain in the groin usually occurs during physical exertion. It is important to find the causes of the pain before treatment so that a targeted treatment program can then be created and carried out by a team of doctors and therapists.

Sports groin - What are the possible causes?

The term sports groin describes pain in the groin area that often occurs after exercise, especially in people who are active in sports. In most cases, the pain is not only acute, but often has a chronic course. Athletes' groin is more common in men due to anatomical specificities. However, it can also occur in women. Before any treatment is attempted, a doctor should clarify exactly what is causing the pain so that it can be specifically treated. Without a clear diagnosis, it is difficult to prescribe the right treatment.

Possible causes of groin pain

The reasons for pain in the groin area, which often radiates into the thigh, can be many and varied. As a first step, the doctor should rule out acute injuries, such as a possible torn muscle fibre or a momentary overuse such as occurs during a marathon. If pain in the groin area occurs repeatedly over a longer period of time during moderate sporting activity, further examinations should follow up. Muscular problems in the groin or hip area can often be the cause of the pain. If there is over-tension due to shortened muscles in the area of the thigh and hip, this repeatedly triggers a pain stimulus during sporting activity. In this case, it also occurs that painful inflammations develop at the muscle attachment to the bone. The attachment of the ligament to the bone could also be irritated and manifest itself with painful symptoms.

Undiscovered inguinal hernia

Chronic groin pain can also be caused by small hernias that are not visible from the outside. A special case that can occur in men is the so-called spermatic cord lipoma. This is a growth of fatty tissue that forms in the inguinal canal and causes similar discomfort to an inguinal hernia but does not appear as such on the outside. Especially when the adjacent muscle groups are strained or overstrained, the spermatic cord lipoma can lead to chronic irritation of the nerves, which again triggers pain that is quite similar to that of an inguinal hernia.

What examinations are necessary in the case of an eventual sportsman's groin?

In addition to the regular clinical examinations, ultrasound examinations are successfully used here. With the help of ultrasound, possible inflammations in the area of bone, skin and the muscle attachments can be detected. The ultrasound monitor also shows whether there is an inguinal hernia or a spermatic cord lipoma. In certain cases, examinations with GMC or CT may also be necessary. However, these are only used as a supplement.

Possible treatment methods for a sportsman's groin

The treatment method chosen always depends on the diagnosis made and the disease. Physiotherapeutic treatment often forms a good basis. In addition to manual treatment by the physiotherapist, targeted massages and stretching exercises also help. Acupuncture can also be used as a supplement. If none of this leads to success, an infiltration, i.e. an injection treatment, for example with the patient's own blood (ACP / PHP), can be carried out in the case of inflammation of the muscles or the inguinal ligament. This often brings significant relief. Infiltration with cortisone can also bring rapid improvement. However, it is controversial and carries the risk of two-sided tears in the tendons or muscles. If all these methods fail to improve the condition, surgery may have to be considered.

Procedure for spermatic cord lipomas or small hernias

Spermatic cord lipomas or small inguinal hernias are treated with the so-called minimal repair technique, usually possible because of their small size. Only a small incision is made and the gap in the inguinal hernia can be closed without implanting foreign materials. Existing spermatic cord lipomas are removed and after a short recovery phase, targeted training therapy can be started.

Individual treatment options for the sportsman's groin

Another surgical option for the treatment of athlete's groin is the detachment and displacement of individual muscle or tendon bundles. The staggered attachment points can significantly reduce the tension and relieve the strain on the groin. Since such cases are individual problems, it is always necessary to look at the evaluations of the examination together with the patient and to examine the various treatment methods.

Sport breaks for athlete's groin

The length of the break from sport or training usually depends on the type of treatment. The goal is for the patient to be able to do sports again without restrictions and pain. The aim is to eliminate the burden of chronic pain and the risk of long-term damage or late effects. Do you regularly suffer from pain in the groin area? Contact the Hernia Centre for a prompt examination appointment.

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