Gilmore’s Groin

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Clinically Relevant Anatomy

Gilmore’s groin was first identified in 1980 as a cause of longstanding groin pain. The condition is sometimes called the Sportsman’s Hernia, however there is not actually a hernia present.

It is common in sports were a great deal of strain is placed on the groin and pelvic area such as soccer, football or rugby and results in groin pain.

Gilmore’s groin is quite a complex condition, hence why it was not fully understood until relatively recently and why many cases are misdiagnosed as a groin strain. The injury occurs at the junction of the leg and the torso. It involves the area (called an aponeurosis) where the abdominal muscles (Internal obliques, External obliques and Transversus abdominus) converge to form the inguinal ligament.


The external oblique muscle has an archway through which several nerves and vessels pass. In Gilmore’s groin, a groin muscle tear causes this archway to open up much wider. Further tears in the obliques cause them to lift up and away from the inguinal ligament, leaving the transversus abdominus unsupported.


Characteristics and presentation

  • Groin pain that’s increased by running, sprinting, twisting and turning.
  • After training the athlete may be stiff or sore.
  • The day after training / playing the athlete may have groin pain when turning or even getting out of a car.
  • Coughing and sneezing may also cause groin pain.
  • It is claimed that in 30% of athletes there is a history of sudden injury but the majority indicate it to be a gradual overuse injury.



Advice for the patient

  • Although it is often possible to continue training with a Gilmore’s groin the conditions is likely to get gradually worse.
  • Conservative treatment involves strengthening the muscles of the pelvic region.
  • See a sports injury professional and / or surgeon who can make an accurate diagnosis.

Surgical management 

  • Surgical management is somewhat controversial and some consultants report than athletes can return to sport within two weeks. It is important to enquiry for specific protocols and use clinical knowledge of tissue healing times to guide return to sport.
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