When to worry about groin pain

It would be reasonable to assume that nagging groin pain is due to a pulled muscle. You don’t remember what you did, but what else could be causing the pain? However, recurrent episodes of groin pain, or pain that gets worse over time, might be the result of an underlying hip problem.

Ryan Nunley, MD, Washington University orthopedist, explains, “Groin pain that comes from the hip typically develops slowly over time – without a specific injury or trauma. It is worse when the hip is flexed, for example, while sitting in a low chair or driving. People may notice some stiffness and decreased motion in the hip. The pain is usually a dull ache, but can become a sharp, stabbing pain when the hip is turned into certain positions.

Common hip disorders associated with groin pain include: labral tears, cartilage damage inside the joint, hip impingement problems and arthritis. A physical examination and hip x-rays can help determine if there is a structural or mechanical problem in or around the hip. The treatment options for these conditions vary depending on the problem.

Treatments typically start with physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications. However, other advanced treatments may be recommended including: injections, hip arthroscopy and hip resurfacing or replacement. Dr. Nunley explains, “To help prevent or delay the development of arthritis, hip arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure recommended for young, active patients with labral tears, hip impingement and other hip problems inside the joint.

Young patients who have already developed arthritis may be candidates for hip resurfacing. This is a more bone preserving surgical option compared to the traditional hip replacement. If your groin pain is persistent, or continues to worsen, you might benefit from an evaluation by an orthopedic hip surgeon.

Dr. Nunley sees patients at two locations:

Orthopedic Surgery Center in the Center for Advanced Medicine
4921 Parkview Place, 6th floor, Suite A

Washington University Orthopedics
14532 S. Outer 40 Drive