Bone biopsy of the parasymphyseal pubic bone region in athletes with chronic groin injury demonstrates new woven bone formation consistent with a diagnosis of pubic bone stress injury

Am J Sports Med. 2008 Dec;36(12):2425-31. doi: 10.1177/0363546508324690. Epub 2008 Oct 16.


Background: There is little scientific evidence available regarding the pathologic basis for chronic groin injury in athletes, a known difficult clinical problem.

Hypothesis: Histological analysis of the superior pubic ramus in athletes with diagnosed chronic groin injury may reveal the nature of the pathologic process.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: Ten athletes with a diagnosis of chronic groin injury by clinical criteria (at least 6 weeks of pain) and magnetic resonance imaging criteria (unequivocal increase in T2 signal intensity) underwent bone biopsy of the superior pubic ramus. The biopsy site was located in the parasymphyseal region in the area of increased magnetic resonance image signal intensity. Histologic analysis of the specimens was then undertaken.

Results: Evidence of new woven bone was seen in all biopsy specimens. Signs of old bony injury were seen in 8 of the 10 specimens. There was no evidence of inflammation or osteonecrosis.

Conclusion: Histologic analysis of bone biopsy specimens taken from the parasymphyseal pubic bone region with magnetic resonance imaging T2-weighted increased signal intensity of athletes diagnosed by clinical and magnetic resonance imaging criteria as having chronic groin injury demonstrates new woven bone formation. This is consistent with the athlete having a bone stress injury that may contribute significantly to athletic groin pain.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / pathology*
  • Biopsy
  • Chronic Disease
  • Fractures, Stress / pathology
  • Groin / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Pubic Bone / cytology
  • Pubic Bone / injuries
  • Pubic Bone / pathology*