Sports Hernia | Sport Hernia Treatment | IMPACT Physical Therapy

Sports Hernia

A sports hernia, also called athletic pubalgia, isn’t the typical hernia many would think of. A hernia usually references when soft tissue or part of an organ protrudes outside its cavity, however, sports hernias are when there is an injury that either strains or tears a muscle, tendon, or ligament in the deep abdominal wall. In this case, no abdominal contents are protruding. Learn more about sports hernias, and how to get rid of a hernia with IMPACT Physical Therapy. 


What Causes Sports Hernias?

Sports hernias are caused by repetitive and/or explosive motions like twisting, turning, and kicking that can be seen in sports like track, soccer, hockey, football, and rugby. While most commonly seen in these sports, these injuries can occur in other ways as well, such as intense or unsafe abdominal exercises. 

What Does A Sports Hernia Feel Like?

Sports hernias can often be felt as either chronic or sharp groin pain when performing certain actions, such as: 

  • Running
  • Sprinting
  • Pivoting 
  • Kicking
  • Twisting
  • Performing abdominal sit-ups
  • Coughing or sneezing

Pain can radiate to the inner thigh and is often isolated to one side of the groin. Tenderness may also be experienced when the lower abdomen is touched or has pressure applied. However, while at rest or sleeping, you will feel little to no pain. 

How Is A Sports Hernia Diagnosed?

Your physical therapist will take a medical history that includes symptoms. After your history is taken, they will perform a physical exam to help locate where the injury is and its severity. This evaluation can include: 

  • Testing the motor strength of hip and thigh muscles
  • Testing range of motion
  • Palpation of the area of injury

If more tests are needed to confirm your diagnosis, a physician may order an MRI.

Creating a Sports Hernia Treatment Plan

Your physical therapist will use your assessment to create a custom sports hernia treatment plan that can help repair the injury and strengthen the muscles. This can include: 

  • Icing your injury with a pack for 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. 
  • Using NSAIDs under the direction of your doctor to reduce inflammation. 
  • Your physical therapist may introduce gentle stretching exercises for your hip and low back. 
  • Muscle retraining will teach you to activate or target the abdominal and hip muscles. 
  • Once the pain has subsided, additional abdominal strengthening exercises may be introduced. 
  • Manual therapy can be used to ease pain, improve range of motion, and increase flexibility.  
  • Sports drills will be added towards the end of your treatment plan to get your body prepared to return to previous sports or activities.
  • In some extreme cases, surgery may be required to repair torn ligaments. 

Learn How to Get Rid of a Hernia at IMPACT Physical Therapy

IMPACT Physical Therapy has multiple locations with experienced physical therapists to serve you. If you think you may have experienced a sports hernia injury, schedule an appointment and we’ll perform a detailed evaluation to diagnose your injury and create a complementary treatment plan. 


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This content is provided by the APTA

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