What are Sports Hernias and how are they repaired?

If you enjoy playing soccer on a weekend or bouncing a basketball around in the evening you might be at risk of a sports hernia.  So, what is a sports hernia? Well, it’s not a hernia in the true sense of the word as there’s no bulge or protrusion through the muscle wall, Like a  inguinal hernia, a sports hernia causes groin pain. However, it is not caused by a hole or weakness in the abdominal wall. Often referred to as an “athletic pubalgia,”.a sports hernia is the result of a significant strain or tear in the muscles in the upper thigh and/or the lower abdomen.

What causes a sports hernia?

The main cause of a sports hernia is the sudden and intense twisting of the upper body that’s usually found in sports and athletics, like when you turn suddenly kicking a soccer ball or to bounce a basketball away from your opponent. This repetitive activity strengthens the adductor muscles which pulls the pubic bone down, but the abdominal muscles that act as counterbalance are weak in comparison, eventually leading to tearing and damage.

A sports hernia will typically cause one, or more, of the following:

How can I tell if I have a sports hernia?

Symptoms can be vague and non-specific, so much so that you might notice a decline in your performance as the first sign that’s something wrong. However, there are some clear indications of a sports hernia which include:

The symptoms caused by a sports hernia can mimic those of other injuries, like a torn hamstring, so diagnosis requires a careful and detailed evaluation to rule out other potential causes before the right treatment plan can be created for you.

How are sports hernias treated?

Treatment varies according to the severity of the hernia.. A small tear may require only rest, icing and anti-inflammatory medication along with physical therapy to repair. More significant hernias may need surgery

Surgery typically involves repairing the torn groin tendon or muscle by using internal sutures though on occasion a synthetic mesh may be needed to help stabilize the injury.

This may be done using keyhole surgery (laparoscopy) where a small camera is inserted into the groin so our surgeon can see what’s going on to repair the injury using several small incisions, or the traditional way of an open procedure with a single incision. The particularly tendon or muscle involved and the extent of the damage will determine which type of surgery is carried out.

Following surgery, you may need physical therapy to get back to optimal health and fitness and continue with your sporting hobby or career.

How long does it take to recover from a sports hernia repair?

This can vary but generally, you can leave our clinic after a few hours of your laparoscopic repair and recovery can be as little as a week. Returning to match fitness, however, will be a slow and steady process to avoid causing additional strain or damage.

If you think you might have a sports hernia that needs surgical repair, book online for your appointment or call us today at 972-525-0245.

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