Sports Hernia

(Athletic Pubalgia)

A sports hernia is a painful, strain or tear of soft tissue injury that occurs in any of soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) in the lower abdomen or groin area. Although a sports hernia may lead to a traditional, abdominal hernia, it is a different injury.


A sports hernia will usually cause severe pain in the groin area at the time of the injury. The pain typically gets better with rest, but comes back when you return to sports activity, especially with twisting movements.

A sports hernia does not cause a visible bulge in the groin, like the more common, inguinal hernia does. Over time, a sports hernia may lead to an inguinal hernia.


Sports activities that involve planting the feet and twisting with maximum exertion can cause a tear in the soft tissue of the lower abdomen or groin. Sports hernias occur mainly in vigorous sports such as hockey, rugby, wrestling, and football. Most sports hernia patients are male.

Some experts believe having core muscles that are considerably weaker in comparison to the upper thigh muscles is a risk factor for sports hernia, because it increases damaging torque potential on the torso during sudden movements or stops.

Sometimes the cause of sports hernia is unknown, and/or develops gradually over a long period of time instead of being triggered by a single traumatic even


The soft tissues most frequently affected by sports hernia are the oblique muscles in the lower abdomen. Especially vulnerable are the tendons that attach the oblique muscles to the pubic bone. In many cases the tendons that attach the thigh muscles to the pubic bone are also stretched or torn.


In the first 7 to10 days after the injury, treatment with rest and ice can be helpful.

Compression wrap may help relieve painful symptoms.

Physical therapy exercises to improve strength and flexibility in your abdominal and inner thigh muscles.

Anti-inflammatory medications or Cortisone injection

In many cases, 4 to 6 weeks of physical therapy will resolve any pain and allow an athlete to return to sports.

Surgery to repair the torn tissues in the groin can be done as a traditional, open procedure with one long incision, or as an endoscopic procedure.

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