Outcome of Conservative Management of Athletic Chronic Groin Injury Diagnosed as Pubic Bone Stress Injury

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Abstract

Background

Little data exist on the results of treatment for sports-related chronic groin injury.

Hypothesis

Sports-related chronic groin injury treated with a conservative (rest) program results in a satisfactory outcome.

Study Design

Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods

Professional Australian male football players, at the end of the playing season, had their groin injury diagnosed using specific clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) criteria. Those assessed as having a non-hip-related cause for their chronic groin injury were treated principally by 12 weeks of complete rest from active weightbearing activities. Response to treatment was assessed at different stages of rehabilitation by recording the number of athletes who had returned to playing football and the number of athletes without symptoms.

Results

Twenty-seven athletes were considered to have chronic groin injury. Clinical and MRI (pubic bone marrow edema N = 26 [96%]), hyperintense line N = 25 [93%]) criteria suggested a pubic bone stress injury as diagnosis for the chronic groin injury. Eighty-nine percent of athletes returned to sport in the subsequent playing season, with 100% having returned by the second playing season after diagnosis. Forty-one percent of the athletes were without symptoms at the commencement of the following playing season, rising to 67% by the end of that playing season.

Conclusions

Conservative management of athletic chronic groin injury resulted in an excellent outcome when assessed by the return to sport criterion. However, the results were only satisfactory if the criterion of ongoing symptoms after treatment was used. More research is needed to compare the efficacy of all treatments that are used in this troublesome condition.

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