What is a Sports Hernia?
A sports hernia is a soft tissue injury in the groin area that often causes a severe amount of pain. It occurs most in athletes that are required to perform sudden changes in direction or quick twisting movements.
While the soft tissues most frequently affected by sports hernia are the oblique muscles in the lower abdomen, a sports hernia can be a strain or tear of any soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) in the lower abdomen or groin area. The tendons that attach the oblique muscles to the pubic bone are especially vulnerable. Often is the case with sports hernias, the tendons that attach the thigh muscles to the pubic bone (adductors) are also stretched or torn.
How is a Sports Hernia Different than an Inguinal Hernia?
While both sports hernias and inguinal hernias can be caused by activity that puts pressure on the tissues found within the stomach wall and muscles, only inguinal hernias will show visible evidence of the condition. Inguinal hernias involve the intestines poking through a weakened musculature and causing the raised “lump” that people often associate with hernias.
Patient’s that experience a sports hernia will not find a lump or any visible sign of the intestines protruding. Rather, a patient with a sports hernia will experience a great deal of pain when trying to bend or rotate the area, or a lot of tenderness when the area is probed by a physician. The pain typically gets better with rest, but will come back once the patient returns to sports activity involving twisting movements.
What are the Treatments for a Sports Hernia?
There are a number of non-surgical treatments for a sports hernia. First and foremost, rest is suggested. In the first 7 to 10 days after the initial injury, treatment with rest and ice can be helpful. If you have a bulge in the groin, this is not a sports hernia but rather an inguinal hernia. A compression or a wrap may be used to help relieve painful symptoms.
Physical therapy may also be required around two weeks after your initial injury. Physical therapy exercises may help to improve strength and flexibility in your abdominal and inner thigh muscles. Furthermore, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen or naproxen) may be recommended by your doctor to reduce swelling and pain.
In many cases, 4 to 6 weeks of physical therapy will resolve pain. An athlete will generally return to sports after the completion of their physical therapy. At Metropolitan Pain Consultants we prefer to take the non-surgical route if it is possible; however, if the pain lingers when you resume sports activities, you may need to consider surgery to repair the torn issues.
If you experience pain in your lower abdominal region and you would like an evaluation, please contact us at 201-729-0001 for a consultation. We offer weekday and weekend appointments. You can find us at our conveniently located clinics in West Orange, Aberdeen, and Lyndhurst.