Sports hernia : A guide to Hernias

A sports hernia occurs in the groin area and is caused by excessive twisting and turning or movements which place undue pressure on the groin. Examples of sports which are likely to cause a hernia include football, running and ice hockey although any sport can result in a hernia.

This is far more common in men than women.

This differs from the other types of hernia in that there is no lump or protruding tissue. What does happen is that the muscles and tendons of the lower abdomen become weakened or torn which causes pain and discomfort.

The site of this hernia is similar to that of an inguinal hernia.

Symptoms of a sports hernia

These include a dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin area which worsens during sports activity; stiffness, soreness and pain in the testes (men).

Coughing and sneezing, bending forward or any sudden movement will exacerbate these symptoms.

If you play sport and find that you have developed this type of hernia then you may also notice that the pain increases after exercise, particularly when you try and get in or out of a car. This also applies to getting in or out of bed.

These symptoms usually appear over a period of time although they can develop quite suddenly.

Diagnosing a sports hernia

Your first port of call is your GP. He or she will ask you about your sporting background as well as your medical history. He/she will also carry out a physical examination and refer you for a pelvic X-ray and/or scan.

Treatment for a sports hernia

Surgery is usually the preferred option for this as with other types of hernia. However, to start with, you may be treated with physiotherapy, ice packs and anti-inflammatory medicines. These are all useful forms of treatment that can help to alleviate the problem.

But if these don’t work then surgery is the only answer. This will involve repairing the weakened muscles of the abdominal wall followed by a strict post-operative regime. This includes physiotherapy, strengthening and conditioning exercises and avoiding any sudden twisting or turning movements until completely recovered.

The surgery itself is discussed in further detail in our treatment for hernias section.

Other types of hernia include:

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