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Medicina dello Sport 2015 December;68(4):651-62


language: English, Italian

Pubalgia and soccer: real or overestimated problem?

Pogliacomi F. 1, Pedrini M. F. 2, Pourjafar S. 1, Pellegrini A. 1, Paraskevopoulos A. 1, Costantino C. 2, Ceccarelli F. 1

1 Department of Surgical Sciences, Orthopedic Clinic, University of Parma, Parma, Italy; 2 Department of Biomedical, Biotechnological and Translational Sciences, Graduate School of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Parma, Parma, Italy


AIM: “Pubalgia like” syndromes in the athletes should not be underestimated because they are often associated with a high morbidity, which leads to time away from training and competition. The aim of the study was to verify the accuracy of an initial generic diagnosis of athletic pubalgia in professional soccer players.
METHODS: In this study 44 athletes were selected and divided into 2 groups: group A was composed of 22 patients with anterior groin pain and generic diagnosis of athletic pubalgia and group B of 22 healthy patients. Each player underwent a clinical and instrumental evaluation with pelvis’ x-rays (antero-posterior and oblique “frog” views) and weigthbearing full-length hip-to-ankle radiographs of the lower limb. Furthermore, symptomatic patients performed a pelvis’ magnetic resonance imaging.
RESULTS: A percentage of 50% of the players were affected by a true athletic pubalgia, while the others by different pathologies. In particular, 18.2% of patients had a femoroacetabular impingement, 18.2% a leg length discrepancy, 4.5% an avulsion of the anterior inferior iliac spine, 4.5% a varicocele and the 4.5% a proximal incomplete rectus femoris tendon rupture. Moreover, results showed that midfielders players were more frequently affected by this type of pathology (81%).
CONCLUSION: Results suggested that athletic pubalgia may be the real cause of anterior groin pain in a considerable number of cases, but is always necessary to consider other pathologies or morpho-structural anomalies which could be associated or be the cause of this symptomatology.

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