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Athletic Osteitis Pubis

Abstract

Athletic osteitis pubis is a painful and chronic condition affecting the pubic symphysis and/or parasymphyseal bone that develops after athletic activity. Athletes with osteitis pubis commonly present with anterior and medial groin pain and, in some cases, may have pain centred directly over the pubic symphysis. Pain may also be felt in the adductor region, lower abdominal muscles, perineal region, inguinal region or scrotum. The pain is usually aggravated by running, cutting, hip adduction and flexion against resistance, and loading of the rectus abdominis. The pain can progress such that athletes are unable to sustain athletic activity at high levels. It is postulated that osteitis pubis is an overuse injury caused by biomechanical overloading of the pubic symphysis and adjacent parasymphyseal bone with subsequent bony stress reaction. The differential diagnosis for osteitis pubis is extensive and includes many other syndromes resulting in groin pain. Imaging, particularly in the form of MRI, may be helpful in making the diagnosis. Treatment is variable, but typically begins with conservative measures and may include injections and/or surgical procedures. Prolotherapy injections of dextrose, anti-inflammatory corticosteroids and a variety of surgical procedures have been reported in the literature with varying efficacies. Future studies of athletic osteitis pubis should attempt to define specific and reliable criteria to make the diagnosis of athletic osteitis pubis, empirically define standards of care and reduce the variability of proposed treatment regimens.

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Acknowledgements

The authors declare no conflicts of interest that are pertinent to the content of this review. No sources of funding were used to prepare this review.

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Correspondence to Gordon O. Matheson MD, PhD.

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Hiti, C.J., Stevens, K.J., Jamati, M.K. et al. Athletic Osteitis Pubis. Sports Med 41, 361–376 (2011). https://doi.org/10.2165/11586820-000000000-00000

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Keywords

  • Soccer Player
  • Bone Marrow Oedema
  • Pubic Symphysis
  • Groin Pain
  • Overuse Injury