Injuries of the obturator muscles in professional soccer players
Obturator externus and internus muscular tears are uncommon injuries. Only a few case reports exist, mainly in high-level athletes. Our aim is to describe a series of obturator externus and internus muscular tears in professional soccer players.
Injury data from four teams from the First Division of the Spanish Soccer League were collected over a total of four seasons. Any soccer player who sustained an injury to either the obturator externus or internus identified on magnetic resonance (MRI) was included. All injured players were treated non-operatively with a goal of returning to play as fast as possible.
Sixteen players sustained injuries to the obturator externus and internus during matches or training sessions. The main complaint was anterior hip pain with a physical examination showing pain during internal rotation or external rotation of the flexed hip. The MRI documented 12 muscular tears of the obturator externus, and 4 muscular tears of the obturator internus. All injuries were treated conservatively based on physical therapy, analgesic medications, and underwent a symptoms-based rehabilitation protocol. Mean return to play was 11.5 ± 8.8 days.
Although uncommon, tears of the obturator externus and internus occur in professional soccer players. The MRI scan was essential to the location, classification, and evaluation of the injury size. The clinical relevance of our investigation is based on the relatively benign prognosis of these injuries.
Level of evidence
KeywordsObturator muscles Professional football Lateral hip rotators Muscle injury.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
This study was not funded by any company of grant.
All authors confirm that this study meets the highest ethical standards, and all procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2008.
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