Adductor-Related Groin Pain in Recreational Athletes: Role of the Adductor Enthesis, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Entheseal Pubic Cleft Injections

Schilders, Ernest; Talbot, J. Charles; Robinson, Philip; Dimitrakopoulou, Alexandra; Gibbon, Wayne William; Bismil, Quamar
October 2009
Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, American Volume;Oct2009, Vol. 91-A Issue 10, p2455
Academic Journal
Background: Adductor dysfunction can cause groin pain in athletes and may emanate from the adductor enthesis. Adductor enthesopathy may be visualized with magnetic resonance imaging and may be treated with entheseal pubic cleft injections. We have previously reported that pubic cleft injections can provide predictable pain relief at one year in competitive athletes who have no evidence of enthesopathy on magnetic resonance imaging and immediate relief only in patients with findings of enthesopathy on magnetic resonance imaging. In this follow-up study, we attempted to determine if the same holds true for recreational athletes. Methods: We reviewed a consecutive case series of twenty-eight recreational athletes who had presented to our sports medicine clinic with groin pain secondary to adductor longus dysfunction. A period of conservative treatment had failed for all of these athletes. The adductor longus origin was assessed with magnetic resonance imaging for the presence or absence of enthesopathy. All patients were treated with a single pubic cleft injection of a local anesthetic and corticosteroid into the adductor enthesis. The patients were assessed for recurrence of symptoms at one year after treatment. Results: On clinical reassessment five minutes after the injection, all twenty-eight athletes reported resolution of the groin pain. Fifteen patients (Group 1) had no evidence of enthesopathy on magnetic resonance imaging, and thirteen patients (Group 2) had findings of enthesopathy on magnetic resonance imaging. At one year after the injection, five of the fifteen patients in Group 1 had experienced a recurrence; these recurrences were noted at a mean of fourteen weeks (range, seven to twenty weeks) after the injection. Four of the thirteen patients in Group 2 had experienced a recurrence of the symptoms at one year, and these recurrences were noted at a mean of eight weeks (range, two to nineteen weeks) after the injection. Overall, nineteen (68%) of the twenty-eight athletes had a good result following the injection. Of the remaining nine athletes, two were treated successfully with repeat injection; therefore, overall, twenty-one (75%) of the twenty-eight athletes had a good result after entheseal pubic cleft injection. Conclusions: Most recreational athletes with adductor enthesopathy have pain relief at one year after entheseal pubic cleft injection, regardless of the findings on magnetic resonance imaging. There were similarities between this group of recreational athletes and the competitive athletes in our previous study, in that the adductor enthesis was the source of pain and entheseal pubic cleft injection was a valuable treatment option. The main difference was that, in this group of recreational athletes, magnetic resonance imaging evidence of adductor enthesopathy did not correlate with the outcome of the injection. Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.


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