Your symphysis pubis is a cartilaginous joint that holds your pubic bones together. This joint can become inflamed due to sports activities, like hockey, resulting in osteitis pubis. Here are three things hockey players need to know about osteitis pubis.
How does hockey cause osteitis pubis?
Hockey presents many risk factors to players. The skating motion itself is the first risk factor; with every stride, your symphysis pubis has to widen slightly to allow for the movement. Sprinting down the ice puts cumulative stress on the joint, leading to damage. The rapid directional changes that are required while you're chasing a puck can also lead to stress, as can impacts with the boards or with other players.
Adductor strains, sometimes called groin strains, can also contribute to osteitis pubis. This is because strains to your adductor muscles change your flexibility and the way you move, which puts abnormal stress on the joint.
What are the signs of osteitis pubis?
Sharp, aching pain in your pelvic region and tenderness over the inflamed joint are the main signs of this injury. This pain tends to get worse when you walk, get out of a chair, or perform exercises that target your thighs or abdominals. You may feel a grating sensation in your pelvic region—doctors call this crepitus—when you move. You may also walk with a limp due to the pain.
A number of sports injuries can lead to these same symptoms, so your doctor will need to rule out other possible causes before you can be diagnosed with osteitis pubis. Other possible causes include familiar injuries like sports hernias and stress fractures, but they can be ruled out with X-ray or MRI images.
How is osteitis pubis treated?
If you're diagnosed with osteitis pubis, you'll need to take a break from hockey. While you're resting, you can use ice or anti-inflammatory medications to help manage your pain. Your doctor may inject either steroids or local anesthetic into the area if these home remedies aren't providing adequate pain relief.
Conservative therapies like physiotherapy can be used to help you return to sports. You'll perform exercises that will help you stretch and strengthen your groin, as well as nearby areas like your thighs, abdominals and back. One study found that athletes who went to physiotherapy were playing sports again after an average of 9.55 weeks.
If you think you have osteitis pubis, see a sports medicine doctor like Cypress Cove Care Center for diagnostic testing.