What is a sports hernia?

A sports hernia, also known as athletic pubalgia, has many of the same symptoms of traditional groin hernias but often there is no obvious bulge. It is often found in people who play sports that require sudden changes in direction or twisting movements (soccer, basketball, football, tennis, gymnastics, etc).  Patients will complain of chronic groin pain made worse by activity. Unlike traditional groin strains the pain persists even after resting the area and taking anti-inflammatory medications.   The pain recurs whenever the patient resumes the activity that likely damaged the tissue in the first place.   The pain is due to muscle and/or tendon injury in the groin area where the abdominal muscles attach to the pelvis.  Many patients and physicians may miss a sports hernia as they do not feel or see a bulge on examination of the groin.  Over time the injury may progress and you may see the groin bulge seen with traditional hernias.  Initial treatment may involve rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy.  If the pain persists despite these non-operative treatments then surgical intervention is recommended.  Traditional hernia repair surgery using a mesh to support the muscles of the lower abdomen and pelvis often alleviates the patient’s pain and allows them to return to full activity once the post operative healing process has occurred.  We recommend the less invasive laparoscopic technique to repair sports hernias.   If you think you have a sports hernia please contact us for an immediate evaluation.

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