Abdominal Hernias vs. Sports Hernias

Abdominal Hernias vs. Sports Hernias

What is a Sports Hernia?

The term “sports hernia” is a misnomer, because the condition is actually not an abdominal hernia at all (it’s true name is athletic pubalgia). A sports hernia is a strain or tear of any 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.

What are the Causes?

Sports hernias most often occur during sports that require sudden changes of direction or intense twisting movements. Specifically, 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 ice hockey, soccer, wrestling, and football.

What are Sports Hernia Symptoms?

A sports hernia typically causes severe pain in the groin area at the time of the injury. Normally, the pain gets better with rest, but returns when you resume sports activity, especially with twisting movements.

It’s important to note that 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, and abdominal organs may press against the weakened soft tissues to form a visible bulge.

Without treatment, this injury can result in chronic, disabling pain that prevents you from resuming sports activities.

Although the symptoms are similar to abdominal hernias, the pain and pressure from sports hernias is caused by torn tendons that attach to the pelvis. By contrast, the pain and pressure from a hernia is caused by abdominal muscle separation and protrusion of intestine or other soft tissue.

What are Abdominal/Groin Hernia Symptoms?

  • Common symptoms include:
  • Visible or tangible bulge in abdomen or groin
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Discoloration of skin
  • If male, swelling or pain in the scrotum
  • Nausea, vomiting, or fever
  • (In Hiatal hernias) Heartburn, indigestion, unusual belching, or difficulty swallowing

What are the Treatments?

Sports Hernia Nonsurgical Treatment

Mild to moderate symptoms can be typically remedied with rest, anti-inflammatory medication, ice and physical therapy.

 Sports Hernia Surgical Treatment

Surgery may be required for patients with severe tears in order to address the torn tendons. Many hernia specialists and general surgeons will consult an orthopedic surgeon for this treatment.

Abdominal/Groin Hernia Treatments

If you believe you have an abdominal or groin hernia, see our specialists immediately. He will confirm the diagnosis and discuss the best treatment options for you.

 

Citations:

https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/sports-hernia-athletic-pubalgia

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/digestive_disorders/sports_hernia_22,SportsHernia

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