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A sports hernia or athletic pubalgia is a condition of chronic exercise-related supra-inguinal groin pain which can present with a bulge in the inguinal wall whenever the abdominal muscles contract forcefully. Sports hernia’s often cause pelvic pain as a major core muscle is involved. In a sports hernia, there is no defect in the abdominal wall, however, the injury occurs in the form of tears and weakening in the deep layers of the abdominal wall. Sports hernias can occur in both men and women and occur often is active athletic individuals.
Patients with sports hernia typically present with pain in the groin, lower abdomen or testicles (in males). Pain that usually affects one side of the groin and is worse with twisting, turning, lifting, coughing or sneezing. The pain usually persists for weeks or months. Patients may complain of a feeling of “disconnect” between their abdomen and pelvis. Many patients with sports hernia also present with pelvic floor dysfunction as a result of the “core” weakness leading to the symptoms such as urinary frequency, urgency, constipation and erectile dysfunction.
The majority of patients are young adult males. The athletes at highest risk are runners, skiers, hurdlers, hockey, soccer, baseball and tennis players. On physical examination, a subtle bulge in the skin surface may occasionally be seen over the affected inguinal region when observed from above with the patient standing. Pain may be evoked with a resisted abdominal ‘crunch’ and tenderness elicited most commonly over the lower abdomen. Many athletes have concomitant weakness or tearing of the adductor muscles or labral tears of the hip. This may be due to the repetitive microtrauma from constant twisting and turning. When the adductors muscles are tight post-injury, that can be enough to trigger symptoms discussed above.
Our doctors are able to detect a sports hernia and evaluate the hip and weakness that may be a result of a hernia. We are able to determine the severity of the sports hernia and appropriately refer to physical therapy or a skilled hernia specialist if needed.
When a hernia goes untreated or is more severe other painful symptoms can develop. Have one of our specialists’ exam your groin pain to determine it is a hernia. Especially if you are suffering from multiple pelvic symptoms such as painful bowel movement, erectile dysfunction or any others contact our office today.