12 Truths About Sports Hernias Your Doctor didn’t Tell You

1. Occurs in sports with cutting, pivoting, kicking and sharp turns

These types of motions are commonly found in soccer, hockey, tennis, football, and field hockey.

2. Sports hernias have a slow onset

A slow onset means it is not traumatic.

No body has to hit you.

You don’t have to fall.

You don’t have to hear a pop.

It occurs slowly meaning it is very preventable.

3. Pain is one sided (unilateral) around the groin/ pubic bone

The pubic bone is the bone at the very bottom section of the abdominal area.

Many muscles of the pelvis and abdominal area attach here.

Pain is usually only on the one side so if you have pain on both sides you could have another injury type.

4. Pain can radiate to the upper thigh

“Referred pain” happens with many different types of conditions.

Even injury to an organ like the heart can create radiation of pain.

Sports hernias refer to the front of the thigh and into the quad muscles.

5. The pain is “Hard to pin point”

Not being able to find the source of pain is extremely common and a very characteristic symptom of a sports hernia.

If you can not locate the apex of the injury yourself you should investigate the possibility of a sports hernia.

6. Pain or tightness can be felt in the scrotum

Obviously, this is just for the guys.

I have heard athletes say it feels “tight” or “numb” even into the ball sack.

Don’t ignore this one.

7. Other AKAs for a Sports hernia are:
  1. Sportsman’s Hernia
  2. Athletic Pubalgia
  3. Gilmore’s Groin
8. Top 4 diagnosis it can be confused with are:
  • Adductor Longus dysfunction
  • Osteitis pubis
  • Hip Joint Pathology
  • Hernia
9. Dynamic Musculoskeletal Ultrasound (MSUS) can confirm the diagnosis

An ultrasound is one of the best ways to know exactly the injury you are dealing with.

I know this images doesn’t look like much but it assists us in recommending the right treatment plan for you.

Here is an example:

Ultrasound Sports Hernia

Ultrasound of Sports Hernia

10. Rehab can be slow, frustrating and even unsuccessful

Bummer huh.

That’s the nature of the beast. Rehab can be very slow but the great news is if you rehab and it is a fast recovery you probably had something else.

You could have had hip impingement or hip flexor tendonitis.

Even more of a reason to confirm your diagnosis.

11. Rehab can include:
  • 6-8 weeks rest
  • ice/heat
  • sports massage
  • electrical stimulation
  • progressive hip strengthening
  • hip stretching exercises
  • correction of movement patterns
  • incorporation of sports motions starting slow to quick
  • gradual return to play
12. Surgery is suggested if rehab is unsuccessful.

The great news is surgery can be extremely successful but I would caution to not jump in too fast.

A successful sports hernia surgery would be an unsuccessful surgery on a hip labrum or other conditions that could also be causing your pain.

Read the rest of the article to find out how we can confirm a sports hernia…

I created an 8 week video rehab course I give to patients after their exam. This is a framework I use with my patients who have a sports hernia, and with the right form and education, can help with your injury.

What is a Sports Hernia?

Sports Hernia Infographic

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