sports hernia

If you suspect you may have a hernia, it’s important to determine the type before you can seek treatment. If you play a lot of sport, it’s possible you could be suffering from a sports hernia, rather than a regular hernia. So, what’s the difference and how will it affect treatment?

Find out everything you need to know about sports vs regular hernias below…

What is a sports hernia?

Sports hernias, otherwise known as Athletic Pubalgia Syndrome, occur when the tendons or muscles of the abdomen weaken. Those with a strong core may think they are protected against this type of hernia. However, they occur more in those with thinner, rather than weaker muscles.

They tend to occur due to twisting and changing direction during athletic activity, and affect both men and women. Sports hernias are particularly prevalent in football players, ballet dancers, hockey players, and golfers.

What’s the difference?

A sports hernia develops in the same region as a regular hernia. However, there are some differences to be aware of. Regular, or Inguinal hernias, occur solely within the Inguinal canal. Sports hernias on the other hand, can occur anywhere within the abdominal area.

Sports hernias also don’t present a visible pouch like Inguinal hernias do. This can make them tricky to diagnose. However, there are other symptoms to watch out for including:

  • Pain within the abdominal area when carrying out activity
  • Testicle pain in men
  • Hip pain
  • Pain reduction when resting from sport

These are the main symptoms to watch out for. If you suspect you do have a sports hernia, it is important to first seek diagnosis before you can undergo treatment.

Treatment options

There are several treatment options available to treat a sports hernia, depending upon its severity. For very mild hernias, you may just need a period of rest. However, most hernias will not clear up on their own without treatment.

Physical therapy can be useful at strengthening the muscles and improving flexibility. This will help to prevent future hernias. You may also be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications to help reduce any pain and swelling.

In severe cases, you may need to undergo surgery. This will involve either an open or an endoscopic procedure to repair the torn tissues. Around 90% of patients who undergo this treatment return to their sport. However, some patients have a recurrence of the hernia in their sport, and the surgical repair needs to be repeated.

In some cases, the pain may not go away after the initial surgical procedure. If your pain doesn’t reside, a secondary procedure may be carried out to cut the tendon or nerve in the affected area.

Sports hernias and regular hernias are very similar. But it is mostly where they occur that differentiates them. Book a consultation and speak to Mr Alan Woodward if you have any questions about hernia surgery.

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