Treatment of longstanding groin pain in athletes: a systematic review

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2008 Jun;18(3):263-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2008.00790.x. Epub 2008 Apr 6.


The aims of this study were to determine (1) the kinds of treatments applied for longstanding groin pain (LGP) in athletes; (2) the results; and (3) the levels of evidence for the interventions. Digital databases P were searched for articles describing the effects of interventions for LGP in athletes. Treatment of LGP in athletes can consist of conservative measures such as rest or restricted activity, active or passive physical therapy, steroid injections or dextrose prolotherapy. Studies describing surgery generally mention failure of conservative measures, although a description of these conservative measures is mostly lacking. During surgery, a reinforcement of the abdominal wall is applied in most cases, using an open or laparoscopic approach. There is level I evidence that physical therapy aiming at strengthening and coordinating the muscles stabilizing hip and pelvis has superior results compared with passive physical therapy. For patients with a positive herniography and/or positive ilioinguinal or iliohypogastric nerve block tests, there are indications (level II) that surgery results in earlier return to sport compared with exercise therapy. Possibly, laparoscopic intervention might result in an earlier return to sport compared with open approach surgery (level III). For different clinical diagnoses, the same or similar surgical interventions were performed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / drug therapy*
  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Abdominal Pain / therapy
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Athletic Injuries / drug therapy*
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy
  • Databases as Topic
  • Female
  • Glucose / therapeutic use
  • Groin / injuries
  • Groin / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopy
  • Male
  • Muscle Stretching Exercises
  • Sports*
  • Time Factors


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Glucose