Nonoperative Management, Rehabilitation, and Functional and Clinical Progression of Osteitis Pubis/Pubic Bone Stress in Professional Soccer Players: A Case Series

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Abstract

• STUDY DESIGN: Case series.

• BACKGROUND: Pubic bone stress (PBS) is a common acute or chronic response of the pelvis in sports where sprinting, kicking, twisting, and cutting are the dominant movements. There are few nonoperative rehabilitation strategies for the condition reported in the literature, and the outcome of conservative treatment has not been documented.

• CASE DESCRIPTION: Five professional and academy soccer players complaining of pubic symphysis pain, confirmed as PBS on magnetic resonance imaging and objective assessment, were treated with a nonoperative rehabilitation program that featured functional and clinical objective markers as progression criteria. Interventions in the acute phase included pharmacological and physical therapeutic modalities to reduce pain initially. Rehabilitation management focused on improving range of motion at the hips and thorax, adductor strengthening, trunk and lumbopelvic stability, gym-based strength training, and field-based rehabilitation and conditioning. Clinical follow-up was performed at least 8 months following return to play.

• OUTCOMES: All players demonstrated reduced or resolved pain, increased adductor squeeze strength, and return to pain-free training and match play. Return-to-training time averaged 40.6 days (range, 30-60 days) and return to play averaged 49.4 days (range, 38-72 days) within the 5 players. At final follow-up (mean, 29.6 months; range, 16-33 months), there had been no recurrences.

• DISCUSSION: This report of 5 cases suggests that a nonoperative protocol, using clinical and functional progression criteria, may be successful in rehabilitating athletes with PBS for return to sport within 11 weeks.

• LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapy, level 4.

• KEY WORDS:osteitis pubis, professional soccer, pubalgia, pubic bone stress, symphysitis

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