Many sports involve repetitive movements, such as kicking, twisting, or turning. Football, soccer, basketball, tennis, and hockey all come to mind. They can often lead to groin pain, which can lead to a diagnosis from your doctor of a possible sports hernia.
The problem is, most sports hernias are not true hernias, where an organ or fatty tissue squeeze through a weak spot in a surrounding muscle or connective tissue. So, opting for traditional hernia surgery to address a sports hernia probably won’t help the problem at all.
Dr. Jacob is a hernia specialist. He won’t mistake a sports hernia for a true hernia, and he can treat your pain with methods that will actually correct the situation instead of simply putting a band-aid on it.
What is a sports hernia?
Sports hernias are not actually hernias at all. They are soft tissue injuries that occur in the groin area. A sports hernia is a strain or tear of any soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments) in the lower abdomen or groin area. Because different tissues are involved, these hernias are often called by their clinical name, athletic pubalgia. They may lead to the development of a traditional hernia, but this isn’t the original problem.
What are the symptoms of a sports hernia?
The pain that comes from a sports hernia is sudden and severe. This pain will moderate with rest, but it returns when the patient resumes the twisting movements involved in the sport.
Unlike an inguinal hernia where the small intestine pushes through the abdominal wall and creates a visible bulge, this does not happen with a sports hernia. Over time a sports hernia may lead to the development of an inguinal hernia.
These are the symptoms you’ve suffered an athletic pubalgia:
- Sudden, severe localized pain in the groin
- Pain during twisting movements of the abdomen
- Tenderness in the upper thigh or lower abdomen
- Pain on one side of the groin
- Pain lessens with rest but returns during physical activity
What causes a sports hernia?
Explosive or repetitive motions that require twisting of the pelvis cause sports hernias. These kinds of movements are common in football, soccer, hockey, rugby, skiing, running, and hurdling, as the upper body twists against the lower body. These forces lead to tears in the corresponding soft tissues in the lower abdomen or groin. The tendons that attach the oblique muscles to the pubic bone are especially vulnerable to these tears. The tendons that attach the thigh muscles to the pubic bone can also stretch or tear.