What is groin pain?

Groin pain is a general term used to describe pain felt at the front part of the hip, just where the leg meets the pelvis. This might be felt as a dull constant ache or it may relate to activity. It is not uncommon for patients to complain of 'catching pain' or the sensation of 'giving way' in the hip. Groin pain can relate to many varied causes. These symptoms can be related to early damage to the joint, either related to early hip arthritis or from other causes such as impingement. There are other causes of groin pain including hernias in the groin or inguinal region. A thorough examination and investigation can usually identify the underlying cause of groin pain.

What are the symptoms of groin pain?

Symptoms of groin pain can range from general aching or more localised discomfort or pain. Some patients describe an increase in their symptoms with certain activities or particular movements. Some activities involvingrotation of the hip can cause stabbing and sharp pains, along with sensations of giving way.

What are the treatment options for groin pain?

Treatment options for groin pain are dependent on the cause. Keyhole, arthroscopic surgery may be indicated if impingement is found  to be the underlying cause. This allows repair of damaged structures in the hip to treat deep seated catching discomfort. Groin surgery may be required if a hernia is found to be present, often carried out using keyhole techniques.

When should I see my doctor?

You should consider having a consultation with your GP when your groin pain disturbs your usual activities. In some cases, physiotherapy review may be worthwhile. Depending on the cause of your pain, physiotherapists can sometimes give you advice and a home exercise programme to try and manage your discomfort.

When are the next steps?

Should your GP or physiotherapist feel that your symptoms require further investigation, an outpatient clinic appointment can be arranged with a view to further assessment. Investigations might include x-rays and an MR scan examination of the hips and pelvic area.