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Evaluation of groin pain

A 70-year-old female with mild dementia complains of unilateral groin pain. There is some limitation of motion in the right hip. Which of the following is the most appropriate first step in evaluation?
  • a.CBC and erythrocyte sedimentation rate
  • b.Rheumatoid factor
  • c.X-ray of right hip
  • d.Bone scan

The answer is c.
Hip pain may result from fracture, bursitis, arthritis, tumor, or pain referred from the lumbosacral spine. A film of the right hip is mandatory in this patient. Fracture of the hip must be ruled out, particularly in a woman with mental status abnormalities, who may be prone to falls. Elderly women with osteoporosis are most prone to hip fracture.

Pain from the hip joint is most often felt in the groin radiating down the anterior thigh. It is important to realize that patients will often complain of “hip” pain when they mean pain in the buttocks or low back. Pain in the buttocks is most often referred pain from the spine.

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