Background: Groin injury is a common injury in football and a complicated area when it comes to diagnosis and therapy. There is a lack of comprehensive epidemiological data on groin injuries in professional football.
Objective: To investigate the incidence, pattern and severity of hip and groin injuries in professional footballers over seven consecutive seasons.
Study design: Prospective cohort study.
Setting: European professional football.
Methods: During the 2001/2 to 2007/8 seasons, between nine and 17 clubs per season (23 clubs in total) were investigated, accounting for 88 club seasons in total. Time loss injuries and individual exposure during club and national team training sessions and matches were recorded.
Main outcome measure: Injury incidence.
Results: A total of 628 hip/groin injuries were recorded, accounting for 12-16% of all injuries per season. The total injury incidence was 1.1/1000 h (3.5/1000 match hours vs 0.6/1000 training hours, p<0.001) and was consistent over the seasons studied. Eighteen different diagnostic entities were registered, adductor (n = 399) and iliopsoas (n = 52) related injuries being the most common. More than half of the injuries (53%) were classified as moderate or severe (absence of more than a week), the mean absence per injury being 15 days. Reinjuries accounted for 15% of all registered injuries. In the 2005/6 to 2007/8 seasons, 41% of all diagnoses relied solely on clinical examination.
Conclusions: Hip/groin injuries are common in professional football, and the incidence over consecutive seasons is consistent. Hip/groin injuries are associated with long absences. Many hip/groin diagnoses are based only on clinical examination.