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Athletic groin pain (part 1): a prospective anatomical diagnosis of 382 patients—clinical findings, MRI findings and patient-reported outcome measures at baseline
  1. É C Falvey1,2,
  2. E King1,3,
  3. S Kinsella2,
  4. A Franklyn-Miller1,4
  1. 1Sports Medicine Research Department, Sports Surgery Clinic, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Medicine, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  3. 3Department of Life Sciences, Roehampton University Dublin, London, UK
  4. 4Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr E Falvey, Sports Medicine Research Department, Sports Surgery Clinic, Santry Demesne, Dublin, Republic of Ireland. Department of Medicine, University College Cork 9, Ireland; e.falvey{at}mac.com

Abstract

Background Athletic groin pain remains a common field-based team sports time-loss injury. There are few reports of non-surgically managed cohorts with athletic groin pain.

Aim To describe clinical presentation/examination, MRI findings and patient-reported outcome (PRO) scores for an athletic groin pain cohort.

Methods All patients had a history including demographics, injury duration, sport played and standardised clinical examination. All patients underwent MRI and PRO score to assess recovery. A clinical diagnosis of the injured anatomical structure was made based on these findings. Statistical assessment of the reliability of accepted standard investigations undertaken in making an anatomical diagnosis was performed.

Result 382 consecutive athletic groin pain patients, all male, enrolled. Median time in pain at presentation was (IQR) 36 (16–75) weeks. Most (91%) played field-based ball-sports. Injury to the pubic aponeurosis (PA) 240 (62.8%) was the most common diagnosis. This was followed by injuries to the hip in 81 (21.2%) and adductors in 56 (14.7%) cases. The adductor squeeze test (90° hip flexion) was sensitive (85.4%) but not specific for the pubic aponeurosis and adductor pathology (negative likelihood ratio 1.95). Analysed in series, positive MRI findings and tenderness of the pubic aponeurosis had a 92.8% post-test probability.

Conclusions In this largest cohort of patients with athletic groin pain combining clinical and MRI diagnostics there was a 63% prevalence of PA injury. The adductor squeeze test was sensitive for athletic groin pain, but not specific individual pathologies. MRI improved diagnostic post-test probability. No hernia or incipient hernia was diagnosed.

Clinical trial registration number NCT02437942.

  • Groin
  • Overuse
  • Football
  • Epidemiology
  • MRI

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