A European survey on the aetiology, investigation and management of the "sportsman's groin"

Hernia. 2014;18(6):803-10. doi: 10.1007/s10029-013-1178-4. Epub 2013 Nov 19.


Introduction: A sportsman's groin has no accepted definition or consensus on treatment. The aim of this study was to assess current opinion among a large body of European surgeons using an online survey.

Methods: An online questionnaire comprising 16 multiple-choice questions was sent by email to general surgeons in Europe. The survey was live from the 6th to 30th September 2011.

Results: In total 143 responses were received. One hundred and six respondents (74 %) expressed experience in managing this condition. The majority (91 %) managed <26 cases per year. Posterior wall weakness (53 %), pubic tendinitis (43 %), nerve entrapment (37 %) and conjoint tendon injury (36 %) were the commonest aetiological factors described. Preferred diagnostic investigations were ultrasound of the groin (44 %) and MRI of the pelvis (29 %). The most common initial treatment (91 % of respondents) was conservative measures (rest and analgesia) for a maximum of 6-month period. When surgery was undertaken, Lichtenstein repair (29 %), TEP (27 %), TAPP (20 %), and posterior wall repair (21 %) were the commonest procedures. The majority (95 %) of respondents would not offer bilateral surgery for those presenting with unilateral groin pain.

Conclusions: Most European surgeons see <26 cases of "sportsman's groin" per year, which is in keeping with the low incidence of this condition. There remains wide variation in its investigation and management, which reflects the differences in opinion on its aetiology. The majority of surgeons agree that surgery is not the only treatment option available, but there is little consensus on the optimal management.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries* / complications
  • Athletic Injuries* / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries* / physiopathology
  • Athletic Injuries* / therapy
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Data Collection
  • Disease Management*
  • Europe
  • Groin* / diagnostic imaging
  • Groin* / injuries
  • Groin* / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes* / etiology
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes* / physiopathology
  • Pelvic Pain* / diagnosis
  • Pelvic Pain* / etiology
  • Pelvic Pain* / physiopathology
  • Pelvic Pain* / therapy
  • Pelvis / physiopathology
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Surgeons
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Ultrasonography