Get the answers you need about a common athlete injury called sports hernia in this FAQ rundown.
In this article:
- What Is a Sports Hernia?
- What Is the Difference Between a Sports Hernia and a Regular Hernia?
- Who Are Prone to Sports Hernia?
- What Are the Symptoms of a Sports Hernia?
- How Is a Sports Hernia Diagnosed?
- What Are the Treatment Options for Sports Hernia?
- How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Sports Hernia?
Everything You Need to Know About Sports Hernia (FAQ’s Answered!)
What Is a Sports Hernia?
This type of hernia is also called athletic pubalgia. It is an injury that occurs in the lower abdomen or upper groin area which can result in strain or tear of muscle, ligament, and/or tendon. This type of injury can occur from the lower abdomen to the pubic area, and at times, the thighs. It happens among football, soccer, and hockey players.
What Is the Difference Between a Sports Hernia and a Regular Hernia?
A hernia affects the intestines and the abdominal wall. A sports hernia, on the other hand, does not involve the intestinal area and is contained somewhere in the groin.
Who Are Prone to Sports Hernia?
While this condition is common among athletes, everyone can still experience it. People who do strenuous and muscle twisting activities are more at risk.
What Are the Symptoms of a Sports Hernia?
Here are some of the most common sports hernia symptoms:
- severe feeling of discomfort in the groin area at the time of the injury
- discomfort when sitting, standing, lifting, etc.
- pain becomes worse after intense muscle activities such as twisting
- limited ability to perform intense activities due to the restricting pain
- weakness in the groin area
- constipation or difficulty in urination
- no visible bulge unlike a regular hernia
It is important to note that not all symptoms appear altogether. Consult the doctor immediately for diagnosis when feelings of extreme discomfort start to nag in the groin area.
How Is a Sports Hernia Diagnosed?
Only a medical professional can properly diagnose a hernia. Self-diagnosis is not recommended since symptoms are also common in other conditions. Your doctor will conduct several tests to determine a sports hernia diagnosis. Some of these include:
- Assessment of Reported Symptoms
- Physical Tests – You will be asked to do sit-ups. If pain occurs, a sports hernia is likely.
- Imaging Tests – These may include X-ray and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
What Are the Treatment Options for Sports Hernia?
The kind of sports hernia treatment needed will depend on the severity of the condition. Treatment for mild to moderate conditions may include non-surgical methods. Severe cases may require surgery. The latter may be an open surgery or a laparoscopic surgery.
Some of the most common nonsurgical treatments for sports hernia are:
- Rest – The injury is often caused by overstressed and overused muscles. Rest is advised for early recovery.
- Cold compress – This can help relieve the feeling of discomfort in the affected area while resting.
- Physical therapy – A professionally guided therapy is essential to regain the normal muscle movement and strength.
- Medications – Prescribed medications usually include anti-inflammatory drugs, i.e. NSAIDs.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Sports Hernia?
The recovery period is affected by factors like as age, severity of the injury, and medical history. Generally, it takes about 2 to 6 months to fully recover.
Most of the athletes who are able to get early diagnosis and treatment are able to return to doing sports activities again. Precaution is advised, especially for those who did not undergo surgery, as the symptoms may start to recur upon doing twisting activities.
To find out more about this sports-related injury, watch this video from Marpole Physio:
Athlete or not, a hernia can affect you at any time. Take precaution when doing strenuous activities. When the injury happens, now your options to make educated decisions. The chance for immediate and full recovery is possible with early diagnosis and treatment.
Do you have your own hernia stories? Share it with us in the comments section below!