If you play a sport that requires frequent, quick changes of direction such as AFL, soccer, tennis or hockey, unfortunately you are at a big risk of developing some sort of hip and/or groin pain.
Groin pain is the 3rd most common injury in AFL, accounting for up to 16% of yearly injuries! Hip and groin pain is often non-acute, meaning it builds up over time. The chances are that if you have had long standing hip or groin pain your doctor has told you to get either an X-ray or MRI to try and find out what is going on.
Unfortunately, getting a scan doesn’t give you the whole picture as to why you are in pain. There is a very high prevalence of people without pain having scans and there still being some negative findings on scans! It is for that reason that scan results should be taken with a grain of salt, and should be correlated with a detailed assessment from a physiotherapist.
When it comes to hip and groin pain it is important to consider both the anatomical and biomechanical diagnoses. The anatomical diagnosis can help us identify the victim, that is the structure/s that are contributing to the pain. We can determine this from the clinical exam with or without the MRI results. The biomechanical diagnosis helps us identify the culprit, that is the movement or strength deficits that are causing the overload of the certain anatomical structures. Unfortunately, hip and groin pain doesn’t tend to get better if you just treat the victim without dealing with the culprit and it DEFINITELY doesn't get better if you just rest and ignore both of them.
So if you have been suffering from long standing hip or groin pain, don’t just rely on your scan results and rest to get you better. Get a detailed, biomechanical assessment of the activity that is giving you pain! Whether it be kicking, jumping or changing direction, a detailed analysis could help identify your limitations and get you on the path to recovery.
Stay tuned for some upcoming blogs on risk factors for developing hip and groin pain and some strategies to help prevent this!