Background: Adductor dysfunction is a condition that can cause groin pain in competitive athletes, but the source of the pain has not been established and no specific interventions have been evaluated. We previously defined a magnetic resonance imaging protocol to visualize adductor enthesopathy. The aim of this study was to elucidate, in the context of adductor-related groin pain in the competitive athlete, the role of the adductor enthesis (origin), the relevance of adductor enthesopathy diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging, and the efficacy of entheseal pubic cleft injections of local anesthetic and steroids.
Methods: We reviewed the findings in a consecutive series of twenty-four competitive athletes who had presented to our sports medicine clinic with groin pain secondary to adductor longus dysfunction. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed to assess the adductor longus origin for the presence or absence of enthesopathy. Seven patients (Group 1) had no evidence of enthesopathy on magnetic resonance imaging, and seventeen patients (Group 2) had enthesopathy confirmed on magnetic resonance imaging. All patients were treated with a single pubic cleft injection of local anesthetic and steroid into the adductor enthesis. At one year after this treatment, the patients were assessed for recurrence of symptoms.
Results: On clinical reassessment five minutes after the injection, all twenty-four athletes reported resolution of the groin pain. At one year, none of the seven patients in Group 1 had experienced a recurrence. Sixteen of the seventeen patients in Group 2 had a recurrence of the symptoms (p < 0.001) at a mean of five weeks (range, one to sixteen weeks) after the injection.
Conclusions: A single entheseal pubic cleft injection can be expected to afford at least one year of relief of adductor-related groin pain in a competitive athlete with normal findings on a magnetic resonance imaging scan; however, it should be employed only as a diagnostic test or short-term treatment for a competitive athlete with evidence of enthesopathy on magnetic resonance imaging.