Pubic Symphysis Pain – What Is This Joint?
Pubis Symphysis pain refers to pain at the pubic symphysis joint. This is the joint where each half of the bony 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 (baby exiting bottom first), 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’.
Conditions that affect the pubic symphysis may also affect the other joints in the pelvis – the sacroiliac joints. This is common during pregnancy or following childbirth. Pain experienced in the joints of the pelvis is then often referred to as Pelvic Girdle Pain. You can read more about sacroiliac joint pain in another blog post here and you can find more information here.
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.
Always seek out a health professional with experience and up-to-date knowledge in this area. Visit our directory to find a Hip Pain Professional near you.
Need Help? How Can A Hip Pain Professional Help?
Your Hip Pain Professional will assess your pubic pain and examine all the contributing factors. Advice and management approach will be determined by each individual’s contributing factors – for example, previous trauma, pregnancy, level of conditioning and athletic involvement.
Management most commonly includes:
- education regarding ways to avoid aggravating positions and actions
- a tailored and graduated exercise program (internal joint support)
- short term use of bracing or support garments (external support)
- and as required, hands-on treatments
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- Vleeming, A., Albert, H., Östgaard, H., Sturesson, B. and Stuge, B., 2008. European guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic girdle pain. European Spine Journal, 17(6), pp.794-819.
- Pelvic Girdle Pain and Low Back Pain in Pregnancy: A Review (2009) Pain Practice, Volume 10, Issue 1, 2010 60–71
- Beales D, O’Sullivan P SIJ (2007) Man Ther May;12(2):86-97 Diagnosis and classification of pelvic girdle pain disorders–Part 1: a mechanism-based approach within a biopsychosocial framework
Check Out More You Can Read on this Area at HipPainHelp:
- Sacroiliac Joint Pain, Pelvic Instability and Pelvic Girdle Pain Sacroiliac joint pain, pelvic instability, and pelvic girdle pain – learn what these terms mean and about the structures involved and learn how can a health professional help.
- Hip Flexor Pain or Iliopsoas Related Groin Pain
- Groin Pain Read more about all of the structures at the front of the pelvis/groin region and how they may be involved in pain in this area, the bones, joints, muscles and other soft tissues, nerves, and other things that can refer pain to the area
- Pain Locator Map Think your pain may be from somewhere else? Use this function to click on your area of pain and learn more about what may be the issue
- Sway Posture, Standing Posture And Load Across The Hip And Back and Causes, Affects and Exercise For Lordosis And Hip And Back Pain are two great blogs looking at common standing postures and how they may be impacting on your pain.
Pubic Symphysis Pain, Pubic Related Groin Pain and Pelvic Girdle Pain - learn what these terms mean and about the structures involved and learn how can a health professional help.
Sacroiliac joint pain, pelvic instability, and pelvic girdle pain - learn what these terms mean and about the structures involved and learn how can a health professional help.