Sports hernia is nothing similar to the commonly known hernia as many would deduce from its name. It is an injury caused to the soft tissues like muscles and ligaments present in the groin section where the thigh meets the abdomen. This injury is majorly seen amongst sportsmen who indulge in repeated twisting and turning of the abdomen and the groin region through sports like tennis, football, hockey and rugby. Sports hernia is easily treatable with physiotherapy and surgery in rare cases with a maximum recovery period of 6 to 12 weeks.
The most common symptom of sports hernia is the pain observed in the groin region. Acute pain might be observed in the one or both the sides of the groin region. Males are more prone to this injury than females. Pain brought about by sports hernia is also spread to the testicles (in males). Acute pain is also observed in the groin region while coughing and sneezing. Pain is also reported while running, bending forward, twisting and turning. Athletes who develop sports hernias are not able to continue their training sessions.
Sports or an active job type are the primary reasons for causing sports hernia. Sports or work which involves a forward leaning position like the one assumed in hockey or which involves extreme twisting and turning of the abdominal muscles like rugby, football and tennis, cause excessive stress in the groin region. This stress and over exertion in the groin region affects the soft tissues present in the lower abdomen, causing a tear. Apart from sports, the injury is also reported because of the age related problems like weakness resulting from wear and tear of the muscles and bones. Other noted causes are obesity, birth defects in the lower abdomen or groin region and previous surgeries.
Sports hernia is mostly cured by non-surgical methods like physiotherapy exercises, medication, rest, ice and heat therapy. Surgery is performed in rare cases which have high reoccurrence rate and/or if the hernia is causing pain.
Anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofane and aspirin is recommended for instant pain relief and controlling muscle soreness. Anti-inflammatory drugs can only be used for short-term relief before settling in on a permanent solution.
- PRICE Therapy
The first treatment offered for patients suffering from a muscle strain injury like sports hernia is the PRICE therapy. It involves protective gear to prevent further injury, rest for recovery, ice packs to relieve pain, compression to control swelling and elevation to aid healing.
- Physiotherapy Exercises for recovery
To perform a groin stretch, you have to stand with knees apart and hands on your waist. Now, bend your knee outwards till a comfortable stretch is felt in the groin area. Hold it for 3 seconds and then resume starting position. Switch legs and repeat the exercise.
- Hip flexor stretches
To perform a hip flexor stretch, stand in position with one leg in the forward position and another behind while firmly placing your hands on the waist. Now, bend your knees in such a position that your knee in the backward position slightly touches the ground. Stretch your knees till a comfortable strain is observed in the front of the thighs. Hold this position for 20 seconds and then resume starting position. Switch legs and repeat the exercise.
In very rare cases, surgery is recommended. Surgery is performed to repair the muscle tear laparoscopically, so the recovery period is shortened.
Injury in the groin area can make you very uncomfortable. Don’t shy away from visiting your physician if these techniques fail to provide relief.