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Sports Health. 2010 May;2(3):252-61.

Imaging of sports-related hip and groin injuries.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.


A normally functioning hip joint is imperative for athletes who use their lower extremities with running, jumping, or kicking activities. Sports-related injuries of the hip and groin are far less frequent than injuries to the more distal aspect of the extremity, accounting for less than 10% of lower extremity injuries. Despite the lower incidence, hip and groin injuries can lead to significant clinical and diagnostic challenges related to the complex anatomy and biomechanical considerations of this region. Loads up to 8 times normal body weight have been documented in the joint in common daily activities, such as jogging, with significantly greater force expected during competitive athletics. Additionally, treatment for hip and groin injuries can obviate the participation of medical and surgical specialties, with a multidisciplinary approach frequently required. Delay in diagnosis and triage of these injuries may cause loss of time from competition and, potentially, early onset of degenerative changes. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the hip has proven to be the gold standard for the diagnosis of sports-related hip and groin injuries in the setting of negative radiographs. With its exquisite soft tissue contrast, multiplanar capabilities, and lack of ionizing radiation, MRI is unmatched in the noninvasive diagnosis of intra-articular and extra-articular pathology, as well as intraosseous processes. This review focuses on MRI of common athletic injuries of the hip and groin, including acetabular labral tears, femoral acetabular impingement syndrome, muscle injuries around the hip and groin (including athletic pubalgia), and athletic osseous injuries.


athletic pubalgia; femoroacetabular impingement; labrum; magnetic resonance imaging

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