What is osteitis pubis?

Osteitis pubis is an unusual cause for pain in the groin and pelvis. This occurs once there is inflammation of the pubis symphysis which is the joint of the 2 main pelvic bones at the anterior part of the pelvis.

The pubic symphysis is a thin joint that has limited motion under normal circumstances. The joint supports the 2 sides of the pelvis together in the front and connected at the sacrum in the rear part of the pelvis.

What are the causes?

In some individuals, the pubic symphysis can end up irritated and inflamed. This triggers the signs and symptoms of osteitis pubis. The usual causes of osteitis pubis include the following:

  • Pregnancy
  • Sports injuries
  • Trauma or injuries
  • Surgical procedures
    Osteitis pubis

    The usual symptom of osteitis pubis is pain on the front part of the pelvis.

Symptoms of osteitis pubis

The usual symptom of osteitis pubis is pain on the front part of the pelvis. Oftentimes, the diagnosis of the condition can be confused with the reasons of groin pain or even a strain. In most circumstances, the symptom is pain or discomfort in the central part of the pelvis although one side might be uncomfortable. The other symptoms include limping or weakness.

An X-ray will reveal an irregular pubic symphysis with dense bony edges and evidence of chronic inflammation. An MRI is not usually needed but can reveal joint inflammation as well as the adjacent bone. Testing might be done to ensure that there is no bone infection that triggers similar symptoms. This is usually a concern among those who are susceptible to infections or have undergone recurrent surgery.

Treatment

Rest is a vital component in managing osteitis pubis. Since inflammation is the main issue that is present, the joint should be allowed to rest so that it will properly heal. The treatment for osteitis pubis includes the following:

Rest

This is an essential factor in managing osteitis pubis to allow the acute inflammation to recede. Oftentimes, this is the only step required to alleviate the pain. In case the symptoms are intense, a cane or crutches can be useful.

Application of ice and heat

An ice pack or heating pad are commonly used to manage the inflammation.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is beneficial in managing osteitis pubis which involves various modalities to improve strength, restore mobility and help the individual return to his/her level of activity before the injury. Even though rest is required to minimize the inflammation, physical therapy can maintain the flexibility and strength of the individual.

Anti-inflammatory medications

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are some of the commonly used medications especially for individuals who suffer from hip pain due to issues such as bursitis, arthritis and tendonitis.

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