Gilmore’s Groin – A Woman’s Perspective: Diagnosis

Gilmore's Groin anatomy

There is very little, if any, information about Gilmore’s Groin in women on the web, so I am writing this to help address that.

It all started with an ache in my hips, sometime towards the end of April 2016.

I am active and reasonably fit. I climb, walk, swim, ski, cave on the odd occasion, and ride a bike. I’ve slowed down and don’t do as much as I used to (I’m 49), and I spend a lot of my time at a desk in front of a laptop, but my head still thinks I can do what I used to be able to do so I have a tendency to push beyond the pain. Nothing unusual for reasonably active people.

For a very brief moment I wondered if the ache could be deteriorating hip joints, but I quickly dismissed that, it didn’t feel skeletal. I thought I was just getting a bit stiff, lack of use, sitting too much at a desk. Over the next couple of months the pain in my legs gradually got worse. When I cried out in pain when trying to put my pants on in the morning Pete said, “For God’s sake, go and see a doctor!”. I only went to see the doctor because I wanted him to refer me to a Physio. I was so sure I just needed some focussed stretching exercises.

It was very hard to describe the symptoms, because if I didn’t move there was no pain. But here’s what I could explain:

  • Very tight down both sides of my legs.
  • Very difficult to stand up after sitting down with pains in the hips and outer thighs for about 5 minutes until they loosened up.
  • Sciatica during driving.
  • Unable to sit on my heals without excruciating pain behind the knees.
  • Unable to lift my leg up to step into my pants without a burning pain in the groin.

This was all on both sides, but worse on the right.

The Physio did some manipulation and thought he detected a hernia. Had I done any heavy lifting recently? Well, I supposed I had, a couple of days before the aches started, bit nothing special. Could that be it?

Anyway, before the Physio could treat me I had to get a proper diagnosis. So that meant back to the doctor, then to a hernia specialist, then an MRI scan, then a follow up examination, and in the meantime the pain was getting much, much worse, and spreading over my back and arms. I couldn’t roll over in bed, I couldn’t get out of bed, and I couldn’t stand up without excruciating pain. Getting out of the car or up from my desk was a joke. But once up, and after a few minutes, I would loosen up. And if I did absolutely nothing, then no pain. By now the climbing was also affected. I just couldn’t rock over on anything. I had no power in my legs at all. I felt totally fed up and just couldn’t deal with the pain.

For the pain, I was taking 4 x 1000mg paracetamol a day, 3 x 400mg ibuprofen a day and 1 x 10mg amitriptyline at night. None of it seemed to even touch the pain, but it helped me just about cope with it all a little better. There were many times whenI was just so worn out by it all I could was cry.

Anyway, after all the consultations, the conclusion was, not a hernia, but a suspected Gilmore’s Groin, and I was put on the waiting list to see the Gilmore Groin specialist, Mr Paul Wilson.

By the time I eventually saw Mr Wilson, at the end of October, I was sometimes struggling to even lift my right leg when I walked, it was like having a lazy leg. But curiously, sometimes I could still do some easy climbing with easy steps.

Five minutes with Mr Wilson and he confirmed, yes, it was Gilmore’s Groin, and all the aches an pains I felt were symptoms, and the only way to get it fixed was by operating.

What is Gilmore’s Groin then?

It’s a tear in the Abductor muscles. It can include torn external oblique aponeurosis, torn conjoined tendon, conjoined tendon torn from pubic tubercle, dehiscence between conjoined tendon and inguinal ligament.

Anyway, it’s not a hernia.

This is quite a good video…

But it is treated in the same way as a hernia, so that’s why it’s sometimes called a Sportsman’s Hernia.

If you google Gilmore’s Groin and try to find more details, you’ll mostly see posts from men. But women do get it as well, just not as many.

It also seems that diagnosis is a very long process. I was lucky that I saw a private hernia specialist (insurance), who knew an NHS groin specialist, and he was able to refer me on.

Series - Gilmore's Groin

  1. Gilmore’s Groin – A Woman’s Perspective: Diagnosis
  2. Gilmore’s Groin – A Woman’s Perspective: Day 1 – The Operation
  3. Gilmore’s Groin – A Woman’s Perspective: Day 2 – 5 – Not much rehab going on
  4. Helm Crag Circuit

2 thoughts on “Gilmore’s Groin – A Woman’s Perspective: Diagnosis”

  1. Aw wow thank you for posting this! I have had problems for 2 years since giving birth and whilst consultant says it’s not Gilmore’s Groin, a physio suggested it might be so I might make an appointment at the Gilmore clinic! Hope your recovery is going ok x

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