Treating common hip and groin injuries


Treating common hip and groin injuries

Your hip is a ball and socket joint made of two parts, the acetabulum (the socket) and the femur (the ball) that allows the upper leg to move front to back and side to side. Your hip is the largest weight bearing joint in the body. Surrounded by a number of ligaments, muscles and nerves that perform a variety of critical movements, the hip and groin are also susceptible to a number of different injuries.

Groin pain has even been described by top physiotherapists as The Bermuda Triangle of Sports Medicine.[1]

What are the signs I may have a hip or groin injury?

Hip and groin injuries have a habit of presenting in a number of different ways just to keep musculoskeletal physiotherapists on their toes including:

  • Pain or tightness felt inside the hip joint, groin, thigh and buttock
  • Lack of mobility in the hip area when walking or exercising
  • Pain that increases with activity
  • A clicking or electric shock type sensation in your hip

What are the types of hip and groin pain and their causes?

There are many common causes of groin pain that present with similar signs and symptoms, highlighting the importance, and at the same time the difficulty, of the initial diagnosis.[2]

  • Torn Labrum

A hip labral tear involves the ring of cartilage that is attached to the outside of the hip (labrum) and is a common joint injury that can occur both when you move suddenly and change direction, as well as from repetitive movement such as running.

  • Groin Muscle Tear

A very common injury among athletes from AFL, Soccer, Basketball and Volleyball, the groin tear often occurs when you change speed or direction suddenly, or even from a poor kicking technique.

  • Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis in the hip is more common in individuals of advanced age and is usually a result of long-term repetitive movement. You will likely feel pain in your hip, groin, buttock and/or thigh areas that presents a sharp pain or an ache that just won’t go away.

  • Hip Adductor Tendinopathy

The pectineus, adductor brevis and adductor longus tendons (short adductors) run from the pelvis to the thigh bone while the gracilis and adductor magnus (long adductors) go from the pelvis to the knee and all are capable of presenting with different symptoms requiring different treatment protocols.  Hip Adductor Tendinopathies can cause pain when running, pain in the groin at the top of the adductor muscles and can occur through overuse or as a result of a previous injury.

Is physiotherapy helpful after hip replacement surgery?

Physiotherapy is recommended after every joint surgery as soon as you are able. Early postoperative rehabilitation after a total hip replacement is instrumental in restoring mobility, strength, flexibility and reducing pain.[3] During the first few months post surgery tissues are healing and your risk of suffering a hip dislocation is heightened.

The aim of post-operative rehabilitation is to address functional performance and to improve strength and range of motion and it has been established that patients can achieve significant pain and function improvements through a targeted strengthening programme following total hip replacement.[4]

Physiotherapy has also been shown to increase patient knowledge of their condition and offers a chance to learn about the exercises and precautions that are necessary during hospitalization and after discharge.[5]

Early and ongoing physiotherapy management is imperative in restoring hip and groin range of motion and reducing pain. Only an in depth and holistic approach to hip and groin injury complaints is capable of keeping them at bay. Don’t delay in getting treatment, see the Sports specialists at Lane Cove Physio.


[1] Bizzini M The groin area: the Bermuda triangle of sports medicine? British Journal of Sports Medicine 2011;45:1.

[2] MacAuley D, Best TFricker PA, Lovell G. How do you treat groin pain? In: MacAuley D, Best T, eds. Evidence-Based Sports Medicine. BMJ Books, London: 2006.

[3] Stockton KA, Mengersen KA. Effect of multiple physiotherapy sessions on functional outcomes in the initial postoperative period after primary total hip replacement: a randomized controlled trial. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 2009;90(10):1652-7.

[4] Galea MP, Levinger P, Lythgo N, Cimoli C, Weller R, Tully E, McMeeken J, Westh R. A targeted home-and center-based exercise program for people after total hip replacement: a randomized clinical trial. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation 2008;89(8):1442-7.

[5] Coulter CL, Scarvell JM, Neeman TM, Smith PN. Physiotherapist-directed rehabilitation exercises in the outpatient or home setting improve strength, gait speed and cadence after elective total hip replacement: a systematic review. Journal of physiotherapy. 2013;59(4):219-26.