Adductor-related groin pain in athletes: correlation of MR imaging with clinical findings

Skeletal Radiol. 2004 Aug;33(8):451-7. doi: 10.1007/s00256-004-0753-2. Epub 2004 Jun 29.


Objective: To evaluate gadolinium-enhanced MR imaging in athletes with chronic groin pain and correlate with the clinical features.

Design and patients: MR examinations performed in 52 athletes (51 male, 1 female; median age 26 years) with chronic groin pain and 6 asymptomatic control athletes (6 male; median age 29 years) were independently reviewed by two radiologists masked to the clinical details. Symptom duration (median 6 months) and clinical side of severity were recorded. Anatomical areas in the pelvis were scored for abnormality (as normal, mildly abnormal or abnormal) and an overall assessment for side distribution of abnormality was recorded, initially without post-gadolinium sequences and then, 3 weeks later (median 29 days), the post-gadolinium sequences only. Correlation between radiological and clinical abnormality was calculated by Spearman's correlation.

Results: Abnormal anterior pubis and enthesis enhancement significantly correlated with clinical side for both radiologists (both P=0.008). Abnormal anterior pubis and adductor longus enthesis oedema was significant for one radiologist ( P=0.009). All other features showed no significant correlation ( P>0.05). In the control cases there was no soft tissue abnormality but symphyseal irregularity was present ( n=2). For both radiologists assessment of imaging side severity significantly correlated with clinical side for post-gadolinium ( P=0.048 and P=0.023) but not non-gadolinium sequences ( P>0.05).

Conclusion: The extent and side of anterior pubis and adductor longus enthesis abnormality on MR imaging significantly and reproducibly correlates with the athletes' current symptoms in chronic adductor-related groin pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Contrast Media
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Groin*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Pubic Symphysis / pathology
  • Rectus Abdominis / pathology
  • Tendon Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Tendons / pathology*
  • Thigh


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium DTPA