What Is A Sports Hernia? Its Symptoms And Rehabilitation Exercises

Hernia is a condition which is associated with bulging of abdominal content like the urinary bladder or the intestines, through a weak spot in the anterior abdominal wall. Though sports hernia may lead to abdominal hernia, the nature of the injury is slightly different.

Sports hernias are usually associated with tear or strain of soft tissues like ligaments, tendon and muscles. Sports hernias occur at the attachment of the adductors and abdominal muscles to the pubic bone, unlike traditional hernia which occurs in the inguinal canal.

Sports hernias are usually caused due to rapid movements like twisting or sudden directional changes, which may strain the muscles, tendons or ligaments. As the term suggests, the condition is more frequently observed among sports persons and the condition is also referred to as ‘athletic pubalgia’.

Symptoms Of Sports Hernia

Pain around the groin region at the time of the injury is the primary symptom associated with sports hernia. In general, this pain gets better on rest but returns on exertion.

Unlike inguinal or abdominal hernia, sports hernias are not associated with a bulge in the groin region, though this may develop over a period of time, as a result of weakened abdominal wall.

While the pain may usually subside over a period of time, untreated sports hernia may prevent an individual from returning back to their athletic activities.

Rehabilitation Exercises For Sports Hernia

Following an injury, it is recommended that an individual takes rest for a period of 7 to 10 days before initiating rehabilitation exercises. The rest is meant for the injured tissue to regenerate, though physical therapy is essential to improve the flexibility and strength of these tissues. Sports hernia rehab exercises focus on the inner thigh and abdominal muscles.

  • Sit on the floor with your feet perpendicular to the trunk. Now gradually move forward to try to touch the tip of your toes with your fingers. This stretching exercise will help strengthen the lower abdominal muscles. Note that while performing this exercise, ensure that your knees are not bent. Don’t over strain yourself as it may result in secondary injuries and muscle spasms.
  • Walking or running on a treadmill is another important exercise. Treadmills offer lesser resistance compared to floor or bars and hence should help you transcend through the process gradually.
  • Lie down on the floor, with your face upwards. Now slowly raise both your legs to make them perpendicular (90 degree angle) to the floor. Ensure that your hands are parallel to your body and firmly placed on the floor. Ensure that the legs are not bent at the knee joint. Hold the position for about 30 seconds and then gradually move your legs back on to the floor. This will help strengthen the abdominal muscles. As you become confident with this exercise, try to hold your legs at the angle of 60 degrees and 30 degrees from the floor for a couple of seconds. This will strengthen the lower abdominal and inner thigh muscles.

While performing these physical therapy exercises, use of pain killers is inevitable to alleviate the distressing symptoms.

Homeopathic drugs like Bryonia and Rhus Tox are potent pain killers and should be used as per doctor’s advice.

Other natural anti-inflammatory agents include turmeric and garlic, which can also help reduce the severity of pain.

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