The term 'referred pain' refers to the pain that is felt in another part of the body rather than the place where it has originated from. Pain in the groin region could actually have originated from an injury to the hip joint. An injury to this joint or other structures around the hip could cause the pain to radiate to the upper thigh or the groin region. Severe muscle strains, fractures, or injuries that lead to the inflammation of structures in this area commonly cause pain. At times, degenerative joint conditions could be responsible for causing discomfort and pain in the pelvic region.
Pain in and around the hip and/or groin is most often a sign of inflammation or damage to any of the structures located in the pelvic region. The pain might arise due to damage to the nerves, bones, muscles, ligaments, or tendons in this region. Here are some conditions that might cause pain in this part of the body.
Inguinal hernia is a condition wherein a section from the intestine bulges out from a tear present in the lower abdominal wall. Lifting weights or straining during bowel movements can weaken the lower abdominal wall and give rise to inguinal hernia. Pregnant women could also be at a risk of developing inguinal hernia as a result of pressure over the pelvic region. They may experience hip pain and groin pain. While pain in the groin region is the most common symptom of this type of hernia, one might also experience pain around the hip region, if the nearby nerves that supply sensation to the hip region get irritated. Lifting heavy weights could also cause inflammation of the pubic bone. Medically referred to as osteitis pubis, this condition also figures in the list of underlying causes of groin and hip pain.
Bursae are fluid-filled sacs that lie around the joints. These sacs help in preventing friction between bones, thereby facilitating smooth movement. Iliopsoas bursa is a fluid-filled sac that lies in front of the hip joint. If this sac gets inflamed, the affected individual is likely to experience pain in hip region. The pain might also radiate down to the thighs, groin, and knees. Inflammation of the ischial bursa, which is located between the lower section of the pelvic bone, could also cause pain in this region.
As we age, the joints might get affected due to degenerative joint disorders. Osteoarthritis of the hip joint could be the underlying cause of hip pain in the elderly. The pain might also radiate towards the groin region. The hip joint can also be affected by inflammatory arthritis. The inflammation of the lining of the hip joint due to rheumatoid arthritis could give rise to pain as well.
Transient synovitis of the hip joint is a medical condition that is associated with inflammation of the synovium or the inner lining of the hip joint. This could be responsible for causing pain in hip, thigh, groin, or knee of the affected side. It is believed to be associated with viral illnesses. Septic arthritis, which is marked by bacterial infection of the hip joint, could also give rise to pain in the hip and/or the groin region.
Iliopsoas tendinitis is another condition that is included amongst the causes of hip pain. Iliopsoas are deep set muscles that are located at the front of the hip. These muscles are used when you do sit-ups wherein you flex the torso towards the thigh. These muscles also help us lift the upper section of the leg towards the torso. Repeated stress to these muscles is common in case of sports persons. At times, inflammation of the iliopsoas tendon could be responsible for causing pain around the hip and/or groin region after running.
A compressed sciatic nerve is generally associated with lower back pain and pain in lower extremities. Pain may be referred to the hip and the groin region as a result of an irritated sciatic nerve. Entrapment of genitofemoral nerve, lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, ilioinguinal nerve, or the obturator nerve might also cause pain in this region. Spinal degeneration, herniated discs, sacroiliac joint problems, etc., could also be responsible for causing referred pain in this region.
The possibility of an individual experiencing pain in the hip and/or groin increases, if the bones, ligaments, tendons, or nerves present in the pelvic region get damaged. Since various medical conditions could be responsible for pain in the pelvic region, doctors can suggest effective treatment options only after the underlying cause is ascertained with the help of diagnostic tests and imaging procedures. While application of heating pads/ice packs or the use of painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, or steroids might suffice for some, doctors might resort to surgery if drug therapy doesn't produce the desired results. If you experience pain in this region, don't wait till the condition worsens and start affecting your mobility. Consult a doctor immediately. Don't indulge in strenuous physical activities that may aggravate the condition.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.