Treat a sports hernia

Worried you might have a sports hernia? Most common in young male athletes, sports hernias cause persistent pain in the groin. This can lead to time off the pitch, as well as difficulties carrying out day to day activities.

Despite its name, a sports hernia isn’t actually a hernia at all. So, what is it, and how do you treat a sports hernia? Find out everything you need to know below…

What is a sports hernia?

A sports hernia is a soft tissue injury, medically referred to as athletic pubalgia (or inguinal disruption syndrome). Unlike actual hernias, they don’t usually cause a protrusion or bulge through the weakened muscle wall. Instead, it involves a tear or strain in the muscles, ligaments, or tendons of the groin area.

Sports hernias, perhaps unsurprisingly, mostly develop in athletes. Rugby, football, and tennis players are most at risk, alongside wrestlers. They cannot be detected via a physical examination, typically requiring an MRI to diagnose the issue.

Causes and symptoms

The main cause of a sports hernia is a tear to a weakened muscle or tendon in the abdominal wall. This can be brought on by twisting suddenly, or through repetitive hip movements. Other potential causes include a lack of training, and an imbalance of strength between the abdominal muscles and hips.

The symptoms to watch out for that could pinpoint a sports hernia include:

  • Pain within the groin or lower abdomen
  • Pain when twisting or turning
  • Increasing pain when carrying out sporting activities
  • Pain when sneezing or coughing
  • Pain that subsides when resting

As you can see, pain is the number one indicator. If you are experiencing ongoing pain in the groin and there isn’t a visible bulge, it’s likely to be a sports hernia.

Treating a sports hernia

If you do have a sports hernia, the treatment is a lot less invasive than if you had an actual hernia. You may need to take an anti-inflammatory and rest up for a period of 7-10 days. Physiotherapy will be suggested after a couple of weeks, helping to strengthen core, hip and groin areas and build up flexibility within the hips.

If the pain doesn’t subside, steroid injections can be provided. However, if these still don’t fix the problem and it has persisted for more than six months, you may need to undergo surgery. This is rare, but is a straightforward keyhole procedure that normally has a high success rate, few complications and a quick recovery.

There are a number of treatments for sports hernias, and most are non-invasive. To determine the best course of treatment to suit you, book a consultation with Mr Micheal Stellakis today.