The Pubic Symphysis
The pubic symphysis (Figure 1.4) is the joint where each half of the pelvis joins at the front of the body. The word ͚’symphysis’ simply means – a place where two bones are closely joined. This joint is a flat or ‘plane’ joint, that includes:
- a fibrous disc that sits between the pubic bones, working as a shock absorber
- four strong ligaments that support the joint
Only very small movements occur at this joint. For example, some rotation occurs during walking, as one side of the pelvis moves slightly forward and the other slightly back, following the movement of the legs.
Pain Related to the Pubic Symphysis
Pubic Symphysis pain is most commonly associated with injury or excess strain due to:
- a major trauma, such as a fall into the splits or a direct impact to the pubic region
- increased stretchiness of the joint ligaments during pregnancy – this is a normal response to hormone changes in preparation for childbirth
- trauma during childbirth – breech delivery, forceps/vacuum delivery
- a gradual build-up of joint stress, such as repetitive movements where the legs move far apart, as may occur in certain sports
- large repetitive forces created by the surrounding muscles, particularly the inner thigh muscles. This is most common in field or court sports that involve changing direction at high speed or kicking.
Pain related to the pubic symphysis is most commonly experienced in the groin region and/or directly over the joint. Groin pain that occurs over the pubic symphysis is referred to as ‘Pubic Related Groin Pain’. Other problems may also cause pain in the groin region, so visit our Pain Locator Map to read about different things that may be related to pain here.
Your Hip Pain Professional will assess your pubic pain and examine all the contributing factors. Advice and management approach will be determined by each individuals contributing factors – for example, previous trauma, pregnancy, level of conditioning and athletic involvement.