Sports Hernia, also known as Athletic Pubalgia is an overuse injury caused by excessive strain on the muscles and tendons of the lower abdomen or groin area. It is common in athletes who participate in sports such as soccer, hockey, football, and tennis.
Sports hernia is a soft tissue injury that involves the posterior wall of the inguinal canal (groin) and presents as a tear of the lower abdominal muscle or disruption to the conjoined tendon. This often occurs during sports or activities that involve twisting, overextending, landing from a jump incorrectly, and abrupt change in direction or speed of movements.
The major symptom is chronic disabling pain in the lower abdomen or groin area that is aggravated by sports and is relieved by rest.
The medical management of sports hernia depends on the nature of injury. The conservative treatment options include:
- Rest: Avoid activities that worsen the symptoms.
- Ice: Applying ice over a towel to the injured area for about 20 minutes, 3-4 times a day to help reduce pain and associated symptoms.
- Medications: Your doctor may prescribe NSAIDs to relieve pain and make you more comfortable.
- Manual therapy and exercise rehabilitation: The 4-6 week program focuses on decreasing hip/adductor muscle tension, restoring mobility to the hip, and strengthening the inner thigh and abdominal muscles.
The various modalities include soft tissue mobilization, interferential electrical stimulation, joint manipulation, and cryotherapy.
The goal of therapy is to promote healing of sports hernia and achieve a pain-free range of motion.
Return to sports or physical activities only after complete regain of strength and flexibility of the affected abdominal and hip muscles.