A sports hernia is a common cause of groin pain in athletes. Until lately little has been known as to why they occur. Researchers presenting their study today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's (AOSSM) Annual Meeting in Baltimore suggest that a type of hip condition (Femoral Acetabular Impingement (FAI)) might be a contributing cause.
"Our study illustrated that those patients with FAI tend to have a change in hip biomechanics which in turn leads to increased stress across the groin. With these stresses a sports hernia (tear to the oblique abdominal muscles), is more likely to occur," said lead author, Kostas Economopoulos, MD from the University of Virginia Department of Orthopaedics.
The researchers performed a retrospective review of all patients who were evaluated for sports hernias at their institution and who underwent surgical treatment from 1999-2011. Forty-three patients underwent 56 sports hernia repairs in their study. MRI, CT scans or plain x-rays were performed to look for radiological signs of FAI. Of the 43 patients, 37 or 86 percent had some form of FAI visible on radiological examinations.
"We hope that our study encourages physicians who see sports hernia and chronic groin pain in athletes to further investigate the possibility of FAI and in turn can recommend better treatment options for this puzzling condition," said Economopoulos.