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Gilmore’s Groin - An Overview

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Gilmore's groin is a common sports injury caused by repetitive strain and overuse of the muscles and tendons in the groin region.

Written by

Dr. Anjali

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Published At June 30, 2023
Reviewed AtJune 30, 2023


Gilmore's groin, also known as sports-hernia or athletic pubalgia, is a condition that commonly affects athletes and active individuals. It is a type of groin strain or injury that involves soft tissue and muscles of the lower abdominal region. The condition is named after Dr. Jerry Gilmore, who first described it in the 1980s. It is characterized by pain and discomfort in the groin area, which can be severe enough to limit movement and athletic performance.

Gilmore's groin typically occurs in sports that involve repetitive twisting and turning movements, such as soccer, football, and hockey. More males than females are affected, and can affect athletes of all ages, from amateurs to professionals.

What Are the Causes of Gilmore's Groin?

Gilmore's groin is caused by a combination of factors that include

  1. Overuse,

  2. Repetitive twisting and turning movements.

  3. Weakness or imbalance in the muscles and soft tissues of the groin and lower abdominal region.

These factors can lead to strain, tear, or inflammation of the muscles and tendons, resulting in pain and discomfort. Other contributing factors may include:

  1. Poor biomechanics,

  2. Inadequate warm-up or stretching,

  3. Underlying structural or anatomical abnormalities.

Athletes who participate in sports such as soccer, football, hockey, and tennis are more commonly afflicted than others.

What Are the Symptoms of Gilmore's Groin?

Some of the detailed symptoms of Gilmore's groin include:

  • Pain in the groin area is the most common symptom of Gilmore's groin. It can be sharp, dull, or throbbing and may worsen with activity or movement.

  • Patients with Gilmore's groin may experience pain or discomfort in the lower abdominal area, especially during coughing, sneezing, or other activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure.

  • Hip pain or discomfort may occur due to the involvement of the hip muscles and tendons in the injury.

  • The pain may be aggravated by exercise or sports activity, especially those involving twisting, turning, or sudden changes in direction.

  • Patients may have difficulty with hip movements, such as flexion, extension, or rotation, due to pain or muscle weakness.

  • The groin area may be tender to touch, especially over the affected muscles and tendons.

  • Patients may notice swelling or a bulge in the groin area, which can be a sign of a hernia or other complications.

  • Patients may feel a sense of weakness or instability in the lower abdominal muscles, which can affect their ability to perform daily activities or sports.

  • Pain or discomfort may occur during sexual activity due to the involvement of the groin muscles and tendons in the injury.

  • In some cases, patients may experience numbness or tingling in the groin or thigh area due to nerve irritation or compression.

How to Diagnose Gilmore's Groin?

The diagnosis of Gilmore's groin involves a comprehensive medical evaluation, which includes a physical exam, medical history, and imaging tests.

  • During the physical exam, a healthcare provider will examine the patient's groin area, looking for signs of swelling, tenderness, or bulging. They may also assess the patient's muscle strength and flexibility.

  • Medical history is also an important aspect of the diagnosis process. The healthcare provider will ask about the patient's symptoms, medical history, and any previous injuries or surgeries. Imaging studies such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or ultrasound may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis and to rule out other possible causes of groin pain. MRI is a highly sensitive imaging technique that can detect soft tissue injuries, such as muscle or tendon tears.

  • Ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging test using high-frequency sound waves to image the internal structures of the body.

  • In some cases, a diagnostic injection may be used to help identify the source of the pain. During this procedure, a local anesthetic or corticosteroid medication is injected into the suspected area of the injury. If the injection provides significant pain relief, it may confirm the diagnosis of Gilmore's groin.

What Is the Treatment for Gilmore's Groin?

The treatment of Gilmore's groin typically involves a combination of non-surgical and surgical interventions, depending on the severity and chronicity of the injury.

  • Non-surgical Treatment: Non-surgical treatment options for Gilmore's groin include:

  1. Rest.

  2. Ice.

  3. Physical therapy.

Rest and ice help reduce inflammation and pain, while physical therapy helps strengthen the muscles and improve flexibility. The therapy may also include exercises to stretch and strengthen the groin and hip muscles, as well as manual therapy techniques like massage or myofascial release.

  • Injection Therapy: In some cases, injection therapy may be recommended to reduce inflammation and pain. Corticosteroid injections or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections may be used to help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

  • Surgery: If conservative treatment fails to provide relief, surgery may be recommended. Surgical interventions include sports hernia repair, which involves repairing or reconstructing the injured groin muscles and tendons. Based on the extent of the injury open or laparoscopic surgery may be used.

What Are the Complications of Gilmore's Groin?

Gilmore's groin, if left untreated or not managed properly, can lead to several complications, including:

  • Chronic Pain: The most common complication of Gilmore's groin is chronic pain, which can persist for several months or even years, affecting an athlete's ability to perform daily activities and participate in sports.

  • Reduced Range of Motion: The injury can result in stiffness and restricted range of motion in the hip and groin area, which can limit an athlete's mobility and flexibility.

  • Muscle Weakness: If the injury is not managed properly, it can lead to muscle weakness, which can increase the risk of re-injury and other musculoskeletal conditions.

  • Secondary Injuries: Compensatory movement patterns due to the pain and weakness of Gilmore's groin can cause secondary injuries in other parts of the body, such as the hip, knee, and lower back.

How can One Prevent Gilmore's Groin From Occurring?

Preventing Gilmore's groin involves a combination of proper training, conditioning, and biomechanics. Athletes should engage in a structured training program, gradually increasing the duration and the intensity of the exercises. This program should include exercises that strengthen the muscles of the core, hip, and groin regions. To prevent muscle strain and reduce the risk of injury, stretches should be done before and after exercise. Proper biomechanics, such as maintaining good posture and using proper form during exercise, can also help reduce the risk of injury.


Gilmore's groin is a painful and debilitating injury that can affect athletes and individuals who engage in physical activities. If left untreated or managed improperly, it can lead to chronic pain, reduced range of motion, muscle weakness, and secondary injuries. Seeking medical attention early and following a structured prevention program can help reduce the risk of this injury and prevent complications. A comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and treatment is crucial for a successful outcome.

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Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar
Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar

Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors)


sports injuries
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