Digital body mapping of pain quality and distribution in athletes with longstanding groin pain

Andreas Serner*, Gilles Reboul, Olivier Lichau, Adam Weir, Willem Heijboer, Zarko Vuckovic, Shellie Ann Boudreau

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Groin pain is common in athletes, but remains a challenge to diagnose. Self-reported pain quality distribution may facilitate differential diagnoses. We included 167 athletes with groin pain (≥ 4 weeks). All athletes received a standardized clinical examination. Athletes could choose multiple quality descriptors and intensity, and drew these on a digital body map. Overlay images were created to assess distribution and area visually. Intensity, duration, and qualities were compared between each clinical entity and multiple entities. Top three quality descriptors were electric (22%), pain (19%), and dull/aching (15%). There were no differences in the frequencies of quality descriptors (p = 0.893) between clinical entities. Areas of the mapped qualities were similar between the single clinical entities (χ2(3) = 0.143, p = 0.986) and independent of symptom duration (ρ = 0.004, p = 0.958). Despite a considerable overlap, the mapped pain qualities’ distributions appear to differ visually between single clinical entities and align with the defined clinical entities of adductor-related, inguinal-related, and pubic-related groin. In iliopsoas-related groin pain, pain extended more medially. The overlap between the drawn areas underscores a challenge in differentiating groin pain classifications based only on self-reported pain. The prevalence of pain quality descriptors varied and individually do not associate with one particular clinical entity of groin pain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9789
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
SB received funding from Aalborg University (Talent Management Programme, 2016) and is part of the Center for Neuroplasticity and Pain, which is supported by the Danish National Research Foundation (DNRF121). These funding sources were not involved in the design, data collection, data analysis, and manuscript preparation and/or publication decisions. No funding was received for this project specifically.

Publisher Copyright: © 2022, The Author(s).


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