Understanding Sports Hernias

By: Sawyer Hoyak   May 2, 2017
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As sports hernias become more common among professional athletes such as Tom Brady, Terence Newman, and Simon Gagne, athletes everywhere should be aware they could be at potential risk of the painful, easily misdiagnosed and sometimes disabling condition.

A sports hernia, also known as “Athletic Pubalgia” or “Gilmore’s Groin”, is an injury to the muscles and/or tendons of the groin that attach to the pubic bone. This condition can occur among non-athletes but is well-known among athletes who participate in sports with cutting, twisting, pivoting, and kicking movements.

The symptoms of a sports hernia can vary depending on the cause of the injury. Typically, I see patients who experience an onset of sudden pain but it is also common for patients to develop pain gradually over time. Treating a sports hernia early on can help prevent the development of chronic pain.

Sports hernias are much different from true hernias. A sports hernia is a disruption of the muscles and tendons of the groin, whereas a true hernia is a defect in the musculature of the groin that allows internal organs from within the abdominal cavity to bulge out and present as a lump in the groin. I ensure that patients undergo a thorough evaluation, as there are many other underlying conditions that can present themselves in a similar fashion.

At Coordinated Health, our team has developed a sports hernia program that offers patients individualized treatment plans that include both surgical and non-surgical options. Non-surgical treatment options can include physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, and physiotherapy. Surgical treatment options for patients will be dependent upon the nature and location of the injury but generally consists of a preoperative MRI, surgery under general anesthesia, and postoperative rehabilitation. Coordinated Health offers outpatient surgery to patients, which allows them to go home the same day as surgery.

It has been shown that 90% of those who complete a physical therapy program will not need to proceed with surgery. Our team of physicians work closely with our physical therapists to make certain each patient receives a therapy plan centered around their specific injury needs and will quickly return them to their everyday activities, pain free.

Sten Kjellberg, M.D., General Surgery, for Coordinated Health

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