Review of MRI technique and imaging findings in athletic pubalgia and the "sports hernia"

Eur J Radiol. 2012 Dec;81(12):3780-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ejrad.2011.03.100. Epub 2011 Sep 3.


The clinical syndrome of athletic pubalgia has prematurely ended many promising athletic careers, has made many active, fitness conscious adults more sedentary, and has served as a diagnostic and therapeutic conundrum for innumerable trainers and physicians worldwide for decades. This diagnosis actually arises from one or more lesions within a spectrum of musculoskeletal and visceral injuries. In recent years, MRI has helped define many of these syndromes, and has proven to be both sensitive and specific for numerous potential causes of athletic pubalgia. This text will provide a comprehensive, up to date review of expected and sometimes unexpected MRI findings in the setting of athletic pubalgia, and will delineate an imaging algorithm and MRI protocol to help guide radiologists and other clinicians dealing with refractory, activity related groin pain in an otherwise young, healthy patient. There is still more to be learned about prevention and treatment plans for athletic pubalgia lesions, but accurate diagnosis should be much less nebulous and difficult with the use of MRI as a primary imaging modality.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / diagnosis*
  • Abdominal Pain / etiology
  • Athletic Injuries / complications
  • Athletic Injuries / pathology*
  • Female
  • Groin / pathology*
  • Hernia, Inguinal / complications
  • Hernia, Inguinal / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male