Sports hernias

Despite their name, sports hernias don’t just affect athletes or people who engage in high-impact sports. In fact, they can develop in anyone who returns to the gym after a long break from exercise, or who engages in sudden, intense physical activity. This is just one of many misconceptions surrounding sports hernias that can make it difficult for people to fully understand the condition.

Here, we explore some of the most common myths about sports hernias and the truth behind them.

Myth #1: A sports hernia will go away with time

A sports hernia, also known as Athletic Pubalgia or inguinal disruption, is a painful condition that involves a tear or strain in the muscles, tendons, or ligaments of the groin area. Unlike other types of hernias, it does not involve a visible bulge in the abdominal wall.

While some mild cases of sports hernia may improve over time with rest, most cases require medical treatment. If left untreated, a sports hernia can lead to chronic pain and discomfort but rarely does it result in long-term damage.

Myth #2: A sports hernia is the same as a true hernia

Unlike a true hernia, which typically involves a weakening or hole in the abdominal wall and may cause little to no pain, sports hernias are an injury to the core muscles. They can cause significant discomfort and pain within the groin area.

While a hernia is typically repaired with the placement of mesh to mend the hole in the abdominal wall, the treatment for a sports hernia often involves a combination of rest, physical therapy, and in some cases, surgery.

Myth #3: You won’t need surgery for a sports hernia

While surgery may not be necessary for every case of a sports hernia, it is often required. The surgical procedures vary but generally aim to increase the strength of the groin area. They are best achieved in most cases laparoscopically (keyhole). Sometimes nerves are cut to deaden the pain.

Typically, these procedures are performed as day cases and are followed by a therapy protocol immediately after.

Myth #4: I’ll be able to get back to exercise within a couple of weeks after surgery

If you do require surgery to fix a sports hernia, don’t expect to get back to the same level of exercise after a couple of weeks. It typically takes around two to three months before patients can resume their workout routine and be at full ‘match fitness’.

Though the procedure is carried out on an outpatient basis, meaning you’ll go home the same day, it takes time for the body to fully recover. If you try to push your exercising too soon after the surgery, you could end up causing further damage and compromising the results.

If you suspect you have a sports hernia, or you would like to begin treatment, book a consultation with Mr Stellakis today.