There are a number of hip/groin conditions that present in the hip and groin area. The most common is Perthes' disease which usually presents itself between the ages of four and eight years of age, although it can also occasionally occur in younger (toddlers) or older children (teenagers).
Parents/guardians should note that if a child complains of stiffness and reduced movement (ROM) in the hip area then Perthes’ must be suspected. If severe, the child may even walk with a noticeable limp and the affected leg may appear shorter than the other leg.
Hip and groin pain are especially difficult to diagnose in young children and adolescents because, like adults, there are a number of different structures in the hip area that can result in pain. Children often find it difficult to explain pain and where it is and therefore their pains are often put down to 'growing pains' and this is not true. If in any doubt it is recommended that parents/guardians seek advice from a medical professional who ideally specializes in paediatrics (the study of children). It should be noted that incorrect or missed diagnoses of hip conditions in children can have catastrophic consequences in their later life.
Without doubt, severe hip/groin pain experienced by children should always receive urgent medical attention. Apparently minor conditions such as a pulled muscle or tendon strain can cause similar types of pain to a stress fracture, so a professional opinion is vital. Stress fractures in children are medical emergencies, so a correct diagnosis is crucial in children experiencing severe pain.