Groin injuries can be some of the most painful and most difficult to treat; one such injury is known as osteitis pubis. This condition occurs when the base of the bone where the two halves of the pubic bone meet in the middle (the pubic symphysis) become inflamed. Bony growths can also develop around the pubic symphysis.
Osteitis pubis is most common among soccer players and runners and causes intense pain that may be chronic. Symptoms include dull or sharp pain and tenderness in the groin area, located in the front and center of the pubic bone. In addition, this pain can sometimes spread up into the lower abdominal region and even down through the upper legs.
Causes of osteitis pubis are diverse. Increasing training too quickly, exercising on uneven and/or hard surfaces, tight muscles, and imbalanced muscle strength can all lead to osteitis pubis. Poor running or walking form can also cause osteitis pubis, as can having legs that are not the same length.
If you think you may have osteitis pubis, rest, ice, compress and elevate the affected area. After a period of rest, if your symptoms remain, consult a sports medicine professional. He or she can rule out other possible causes of your pain, and may recommend stretching or strengthening exericses to put you on the road to recovery. An X-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan may also be used to detect the telltale sign of osteitis pubis (a widened, irregular pubis symphysis).
Once your osteitis pubis has cleared up, prevent it from coming back by always wearing well-fitting footwear, increasing your training and mileage gradually, keeping your body strong and limber, and allowing yourself sufficient rest between training sessions to let your body recovery.