A sports hernia is a soft tissue injury that occurs in the groin area. Athletes may incur this injury when they are participating in sports that require sudden changes of direction and intense twisting type movements of the torso. You can find out if your groin injury is a hernia or sports hernia by providing the doctor with your medical history, getting a physical examination, and possibly imaging of the area.
1. What Is the Difference Between A Sports Hernia and A Hernia?
A hernia is defined as a condition where part of an organ is displaced and protrudes through the wall of the cavity containing it. A sports hernia is a bit different. It presents as an injury to tissues in the groin that surround the area where a typical inguinal hernia presents. The surrounding tissues present with an injury because of the weakness of the inguinal floor within the groin. So, the patient is feeling the symptoms of the strain and injury on the surrounding tissue. You can learn more by visiting our blog “What Is A Sports Hernia?”
2. Will A Sports Hernia Heal on Its Own?
It depends on how someone is defining the term of sports hernia. We feel that to call a groin injury a sports hernia, the most important criteria are pain that improves with rest and avoidance of the sports activity, but which returns with the activity even after prolonged rest. A groin strain will usually heal on its own. It is extremely important to rest and refrain from the sport activity which caused the groin injury in the first place. Decrease inflammation by applying ice to the affected area and taking anti-inflammatory medications. You will need to continue to avoid the activity that caused the injury for a full 6 weeks at least. If you resume the sports activity which caused your injury after taking a 6 weeks rest and the groin pain returns, we recommend trying an additional six weeks of avoiding that activity. If your groin injury does not heal after twelve weeks, this is when we at our office would want to evaluate you for a sports hernia and you may need an operation.
3. How Is A Sports Hernia Diagnosed?
Sports hernias are diagnosed by a combination of your patient history, diagnostic tests, and a physical examination. Recently, MRI tests have been a common way to determine whether one has a sports hernia. MRI tests are the most effective imaging method when it comes to receiving an accurate diagnosis of sports hernia.
4. Who Is at Risk for A Sports Hernia?
Anyone who is involved in sports that include running, jumping, or twisting movements is at risk for a sports hernia. This includes rugby players, basketball players, football players, tennis and racquetball players, wrestlers, and many more active sports players.
5. Why Are Sports Hernias Controversial and Misunderstood?
Sports hernias are sometimes misdiagnosed. Sometimes they are mistreated as a result. This is difficult for everyone involved. At our office we can usually diagnose you by taking your history of pain and activity and a physical exam. If imaging is needed, MRI scans tend to be the most effective method for determining whether someone has a sports hernia.
When Should You Contact a General Surgeon?
Sports hernias are painful. We can help. Schedule an appointment if you think you might have one. You can contact us at 208.321.4790 or submit a contact form to request a consultation and examination if you have groin pain consistent with a sports hernia that has persisted after an appropriate period of abstaining from the offending activity.