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The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2021 July;61(7):960-70

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.20.11575-5


language: English

A multidisciplinary assessment of 320 athletes with long-standing groin pain syndrome in keeping with the Italian consensus agreement: the high incidence and the multiple causes of inguinal and hip pathologies and pubic osteopathy

Gian N. BISCIOTTI 1, 2 , Alessio AUCI 3, Stefano BONA 4, Alessandro BISCIOTTI 2, Andrea BISCIOTTI 2, Gabriella CASSAGHI 2, Francesco DI MARZO 5, Francesco DI PIETTO 6, Cristiano EIRALE 1, Manlio PANASCÌ 7, Federica PARRA 2, Raul ZINI 8, 9

1 Paris Saint Germain FC, Paris, France; 2 Kinemove Rehabilitations Center, Pontremoli, Massa-Carrara, Italy; 3 AUSL Toscana Nord-Ovest, Massa, Massa-Carrara, Italy; 4 IRCCS Humanitas Clinic, Rozzano, Milan, Italy; 5 Valtiberina Hospital, USL Toscana Sudest, Sansepolco, Arezzo, Italy; 6 Pineta Grande Hospital, Castel Volturno, Caserta, Italy; 7 S. Carlo di Nancy Hospital, Rome, Italy; 8 University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy; 9 Maria Cecilia Hospital, Cotignola, Ravenna, Italy

BACKGROUND: Groin pain syndrome is an important and increasing problem in numerous sports (e.g. soccer, football, ice hockey, handball and rugby). Long-standing groin pain syndrome is a form of groin pain syndrome in which the cohort of symptoms reported by the patient is experienced for a long period, typically for over 12 weeks, and is recalcitrant to any conservative therapy. Long-standing groin pain syndrome is potentially career-ending for elite athletes.
METHODS: A descriptive epidemiological study was carried out on 320 athletes (290 men and 30 women) affected by long-standing groin pain syndrome, following the Guidelines issued by the Groin Pain Syndrome Italian Consensus Conference on terminology, clinical evaluation and imaging assessment of groin pain in athlete.
RESULTS: Amongst the clinical tests for inguinal pathologies, only the External Inguinal Ring Exploration proved conclusive (sensitivity: 0.97; specificity: 0.95; positive predictive value: 0.98; negative predictive value: 0.90; likelihood ratio: 19.4). In testing for adductor tendinopathies, only the Isometric Squeeze with flexed knee and distal resistance (sensitivity: 0.86; specificity: 0.45; positive predictive value: 0.48; negative predictive value: 0.85; likelihood ratio: 5.7) and the Palpatory Test at the pubic insertion of the adductor longus (sensitivity: 0.93; specificity: 0.89; positive predictive value: 0.96; negative predictive value: 0.79; likelihood ratio: 8.5) proved, respectively, useful at times and moderately useful. Among the tests for hip pathologies, only the Flexion Abduction External Rotation Test was seen to be conclusive (sensitivity: 0.90; specificity: 0.93; positive predictive value: 0.98; negative predictive value: 0.72; likelihood ratio: 12.9). In the male population on average, long-standing groin syndrome presents either a single cause or multiple causes in respectively 74% and 26% of cases. Furthermore, almost 58% of all cases traced to a single clinical cause can be attributed to inguinal pathologies alone. Long-standing groin syndrome in the female population shows only one pathological cause with inguinal pathologies, and acetabular labrum tear representing the most frequent etiologies.
CONCLUSIONS: Men and women exhibit different causes for long-standing groin pain syndrome. Several routine tests used in the clinical evaluation of this condition furnish a low likelihood ratio. Consequently, in order to optimize clinical evaluation and minimize patient discomfort, clinical evaluation should be based on tests with a greater likelihood ratio.

KEY WORDS: Groin; Pathology; Hip; Tendinopathy

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