Femoroacetabular impingement, a cause of hip pain, has been undergoing remarkable attention recently. Many athletes, especially runners, cyclists, dancers, and other athletes engaged in high frequency hip flexion activities suffer from femoroacetabular impingment.
Markus Wheaton, wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, missed most of his rookie year due to broken fingers. He began this year very well as he cemented himself into a starting wide receiver role. However, last week, Markus Wheaton was limited by a groin injury. He did manage to play through the injury but was largely ineffective.
The groin is the area between the abdomen and thighs. This area consists of many different muscles including the inner thigh muscles (adductor muscles), which are the most commonly injured muscles of the groin area. There are many reasons that there may be pain in the groin and we will discuss them in this article.
Anatomy of the Groin Area
The main cause of groin pain in athletics is the groin strain. Overstretching the inner thigh muscles causes a groin strain. Groin strains are diagnosed in three different severities. Grade I strains typically cause some minor pain and discomfort but would not drastically limit the ability to run and jump. Grade II groin strains would be slightly more painful and uncomfortable and would likely limit the ability to run and jump. More severe (Grade III) groin strains are accompanied by loss of leg strength, muscle spasms, swelling, bruising, and stabbing pain. In addition, there may be inability to move the leg inward or across the body. The most severe grade III strains can include some muscle deformity although this is very uncommon. These groin strains are most likely to occur in sports such as football, soccer, and ice hockey.
Groin strains will typically heal by themselves but there are methods to speed the healing process. Every three or four hours you should ice the inner thigh for about a half an hour at a time. In addition, you should use an elastic bandage to compress the thigh and take anti-inflammatories as prescribed. Once the healing process is underway, your doctor may recommend you begin doing stretching and strengthening exercises. In the most severe of groin strains, surgery may be utilized as a last resort. The time is takes to return to full activity varies but typically grade I injuries can be fully healed within one to four weeks. Grade II strains can be fully healed within four to eight weeks. Grade III strains can be fully within eight to twelve weeks.
There are many other ailments that may cause you to experience groin pain. These include an inguinal hernia, a kidney stone, a urinary tract infection, hip arthritis, and pelvic inflammation to name just a few of many. These issues are obviously accompanied by other symptoms in addition to groin pain. It is important to visit your doctor if you are experiencing unexplained groin pain. If no physical injury occurred, there is a good chance that it may be related to one of these confounding ailments.
In the case of Markus Wheaton, it seems as though his injury was likely a grade I groin strain. He was able to play through the injury on a limited basis last week and I expect we will see more strength and explosiveness from him this week against the Browns.
If you have been diagnosed with femoroacetabular impingement or are suffering from groin pain, contact our renowned sports medicine specialists at Orthopedic Surgery San Diego for treatment.