Sports hernia

The Commonwealth Games was an inspiration to many people to get more involved in local sports. With all kinds of events running throughout the country, you might be thinking of joining in and trying out something new.

While taking part in sport is great for your physical and mental wellbeing, there are risks you need to be aware of. For example, without adequate training and preparation, you could end up developing a sports hernia.

So, what is a sports hernia and what causes them to develop? Discover everything you need to know in this informative post.

What is a sports hernia

A sports hernia isn’t technically a true hernia. That is, it doesn’t typically produce a visible lump in the groin. Medically known as inguinal disruption syndrome, or athletic pubalgia, it is a soft tissue injury within the groin.

This type of hernia is most common in athletes who practice sports that require twisting movements and sudden changes in direction, rapid acceleration and deceleration. They produce much the same symptoms as the more common inguinal hernias, such as:

  • Pain during exercise that goes away with rest
  • Tender to the touch
  • Severe pain that comes on suddenly

While they do not tend to produce a visible bulge, sports hernias rarely have the potential to develop into an inguinal hernia if left untreated.

What causes a sports hernia?

Sports hernias are usually caused by a twisting movement that tears or damages the soft tissue in the groin. They can also develop in the lower abdomen and tend to be more common in those who play vigorous sports such as football, rugby, hockey and running.

Young men who participate in sports are most likely to develop them, which experts say is most likely down to having a narrower pelvis than female athletes. Although, as the name suggests, they do mostly impact those who play sports, it is still possible to develop one if you don’t.

How are sports hernias treated?

In some cases, sports hernias can go away by themselves with a period of rest. However, if you want to continue playing sports, you will need to seek treatment. Physiotherapy directed at the groin and core strengthening can help but sometimes the pain will return when you resume your sport. Sometimes steroid injections are used.

The standard definitive treatment for sports hernias is surgery which in most cases provides the best chance of recovery. This is especially true if you are looking to return to sport full time. More than 80% of patients return to full-time sport after surgical treatment.

If you suspect you have a sports hernia and you want to receive the most effective treatment, book a consultation with Mr Michael Stellakis at the Bowel and Hernia Centre.