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Pelvic Girdle Pain

Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is pain felt at the front of your pelvis, groin, hips, back and legs which stems from excessive movement of the pelvis and misalignment.

Common Signs & Symptoms

  • You may feel pain with any of the below:
  • Standing on one leg (such as when getting dressed)
  • Walking
  • Walking upstairs
  • Turning in bed
  • Moving your legs apart such as when getting out of a car

Description

Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is pain felt at the front of your pelvis, groin, hips, back and legs which stems from excessive movement of the pelvis and misalignment. If felt during pregnancy, it usually resolves once the baby is born.
Your pelvis is made up of a stable ring of bones, a bit like a hula hoop, which are held in place by strong ligaments. For your pelvis to absorb stresses and strains when you walk, it is essential that this ring remains stable. Sometimes the ligament holding your pelvic joints together can become stretched and inflamed, causing pain when you stand and walk.

It is most common to suffer PGP in the latter stages of pregnancy. The hormone relaxin is released to prepare for the birth of a baby and this makes your ligaments more flexible. Strain on your joints with activites such as running, can also cause weakness of the ligaments or your joints to shift (malalignment) leading to pelvic girdle pain, although this is less common. Sharp localised pains in your pelvis can be accompanied by pain into your hips, groin, and inner thighs.

Other causes:

  • Training on uneven or hard ground.
  • Muscle imbalance and weak core, tightness in your hips, groin and buttocks.
  • High kicks, such as during ice skating, dancing or gymnastics
  • A waddling walk
  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Gynaecological surgery

Advice & Treatment

Avoid standing and walking activities to reduce the strain on your pelvic joint and ligaments. A pelvic girdle belt can be very effective in improving the stability of your pelvis to reduce your pain.

If you are close to the end of your pregnancy, you may need to rest from standing and walking activities and wait until the level of your hormone relaxin has lessened after birth for your pain to fully go, this can take up to 6 months.

Treatment by a physiotherapist specialising in back pain may be needed.

Other things you can do:

  • Assess the surface of the ground or floor you are training on - if there is no sping in the surface it may increase the strain going through your pelvis is causing you problems
  • Improve the flexibility and strength of the muscles in your core (stomach and back), hips, groin and buttocks
  • Avoid high kicks (dancing, gymnastics) and wait for your symptoms to settle further before you gradually begin again
  • Warm up before you play sport or new activity, and begin training of any new activity slowly
  • See a podiatrist who can assess you to see whether you need orthotics
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