A Sports Hernia is an injury to the soft tissues including, fascia, tendon and/or muscle in the lower abdomen or groin around the attachment to the pubic bone of your pelvis. Although similarly named, sports hernias do differ from regular hernias in that they do not typically present with a bulge of abdominal tissue. Instead, they are a vague and diffuse injury that is hard to pinpoint, making it difficult to diagnose. True diagnosis comes from an ultrasound or MRI. Clinically, sports hernias can appear very much like a hip flexor or lower abdominal strain. It becomes obvious that they are more than that when they don’t respond to rest and treatment the way you would expect.
A sports hernia is more common in males than females. They typically occur in sports or movements that involve planting feet and twisting or over-stretching the core and hip with great exertion. Kicking a ball, sprinting, weight lifting and skating and examples of this type of motion.
The pain usually comes on immediately and is localized over the groin area. It is aggravated by activity and relieved with rest. Sometimes they can settle down to the point that they are no longer bothersome. Other times, they do end up requiring surgery to get to this point.
Your Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist can treat sports hernias in a very similar way to how they would treat strains of the same area. They can help you determine the cause of the injury, so you can prevent reoccurrence and also so you can rest from that and any other offending activities. They can treat tension in the muscles, tendons and fascia through soft tissue release techniques. They can ensure your hips, back and pelvis are properly aligned and moving well. They can educate you on proper activation of the core and prescribe exercises that improve flexibility, strength and stability in the hips and core. Deep core and glut strength and endurance are of utmost importance. If surgery is required, your therapist can also guide you through this process and help you rehabilitate in all of the same ways as without the surgery. Special focus will be placed on releasing scar tissue following the surgery to prevent excessive tension that can lead to a repeat injury.
As with all injuries, this information is simply a guide, and it is always best to check in with a Physiotherapist or Athletic Therapist to have a personalized assessment and hear recommendations for what you and your body may specifically need.
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