Therapeutic results after ultrasound-guided intratissue percutaneous electrolysis (EPI®) in the treatment of rectus abdominis-related groin pain in professional footballers: a pilot study

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2016 Oct;56(10):1171-1178. Epub 2016 Jan 12.


Background: Rectus abdominis-related groin pain (RAGP) is one of the possible clinical patterns that determine pubalgia. RAGP is one of the typical patterns in footballers and is due to the degeneration and tendinopathy of the distal tendon, at the level of the two pubic tubercles. Intratissue percutaneous electrolysis (EPI) is a novel technique used in the treatment of tendinopathies. The aim of this study was to examine the therapeutic benefits of EPI by contrasting the two basic components that characterize RAGP: painful symptoms and resultant functional deficits.

Methods: Eight professional footballers at Udinese Calcio Spa Football Club underwent ultrasound-guided EPI intervention. No other type of treatment was combined with EPI. Pain was monitored with the Verbal Rating Scale, while functional deficit was monitored using the Patient Specific Functional Scale. The scales implementation took place before treatment, then 24 hours, 1 week, 1 month and 6 months after the end of treatment.

Results: Treatment with EPI produced a complete reduction of pain symptoms in one month and enabled excellent functional recovery for walking and jogging in one week; for getting out of bed, running, jumping and kicking within one month from the end of the treatment.

Conclusions: Treatment with ultrasound-guided EPI has shown encouraging clinical results for RAGP. Data are preliminary: considering the limitations of this study more complex design studies are necessary to test the efficacy of the technique. This study introduces the EPI technique for the first time in the treatment of professional footballers suffering from RAGP. Its future use is proposed as a treatment solution, including complementary to conservative treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / therapy*
  • Electrolysis / methods*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Groin
  • Humans
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Recovery of Function
  • Rectus Abdominis*
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Tendinopathy / diagnosis
  • Tendinopathy / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional*