Hip pain is extraordinarily common among cyclists, runners, and dancers, and a variety of other types of athletes. Although hip pain is difficult to endure, athletes that sustain an injury resulting in groin pain should be particularly cautious, as that may be a sign of bigger injuries to come. Labral tears and femoral stress fractures seen amongst triathletes in San Diego is of particular concern.
Fred Jackson has been one of the most underrated players in the NFL for quite some time now. He is consistently productive despite being considered “too old” to be successful at the running back position. He is the oldest running back on any active roster and he was having another solid year for the Buffalo Bills. Unfortunately Jackson suffered an injury to the groin area and is expected to miss a month of football.
Groin injuries are actually one of the less common sports injuries as they only account for roughly 5% of all sports injuries. The groin area is very large and very anatomically complex, which can make diagnosing groin injuries a difficult task. To boot, it is pretty common to have two or more groin related injuries simultaneously. This can make the diagnostic process very frustrating for athletes. Luckily for Jackson, the Buffalo Bills’ orthopedic physicians were able to diagnose this rather quickly. Jackson has a torn adductor longus. The adductor longus is a muscle that connects to the femur and the superior pubic ramus. Jackson’s adductor longus was separated from the bone by about a centimeter causing the 33-year-old running back to be carted off the field.
The symptoms of a groin injury such as Jackson’s include severe stabbing pain, swelling, bruising, inability to move the leg across the body, loss of muscle strength, and muscle spasms. While this seems like a rather serious injury, rehabilitation can usually heal a torn adductor longus completely within 10 weeks. The likely course of action for Jackson is about a week or two of resting, ice, compression, and immobility. After that, he can begin doing stretching and strengthening exercises.
As I mentioned earlier, groin injuries are difficult to diagnose and I thought it would be appropriate to take a look at another common sports injury of the groin area: Torn hip labrum.
The hip labrum is a ring of cartilage that sits between the ball and socket joint of the hip. This objective of the hip labrum is to securely hold the ball of the femur head into the socket of the pelvis. Unlike Jackson’s injury, the symptoms of a hip labrum tear can be acute and sometimes even unnoticeable. The symptoms that are reported are typically a locking, catching, clicking of the hip joint, as well as some pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion. One particular case of this occurred last year to then Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin. Harvin actually ended up missing almost the entire season due to a slight tear of the hip labrum. Unlike the adductor longus tear Fred Jackson suffered, Harvin required surgery to repair his torn labrum. More and more orthopedic surgeons are opting for arthroscopic surgery to smooth off and repair a torn labrum. Once surgery is complete, patients often will need to stay on crutches for about one to two months until limp has completely subsided. At this point physical therapy is required to restore strength and mobility.