Despite its name, a sports hernia is not actually a hernia in the traditional sense. A standard hernia occurs when muscle pushes through an intestination wall or another soft tissue, but a sports hernia is categorized by an injury to the tendons that attach to the pelvis. Because of the true nature of its injury, a sports hernia is also called athletic pubalgia, and it’s often misdiagnosed as a muscle strain. In today’s blog, we explain how you can prevent and treat sports hernias.
Sports Hernia Prevention
In order to learn how to prevent against sports hernias, we first must learn more about how the injury occurs in the first place. Sports hernias are often caused by repetitive twisting or rapid change of direction, which is common in the sporting world. These actions put excessive stress on the groin area, and it can damage the tendons that attach to your pelvis. When these tendons are stretched or torn, you’re suffering from a sports hernia.
It’s not always easy to prevent a sports hernia, but there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing a sports hernia. Those tips include:
- Stretching thoroughly before and after activity.
- Developing a strength training routine during the season.
- Partaking in cross-training workouts in order to foster proportional muscle development.
- Stopping activity at the first signs of discomfort.
- Work on increasing lower body flexibility.
Treating Sports Hernias
If you believe you’re suffering from a sports hernia, head to a specialist’s office. Dr. Koeplin will perform a physical exam and ask about your symptoms and what actions make the discomfort better or worse. In many cases, a sports hernia can be diagnosed without imaging tests, but they may be ordered in order to rule out other potential issues.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a sports hernia, it’s likely that nonsurgical treatment will be the first course of action. This will involve rest and activity limitation, anti-inflammatory medications, icing the areas 20-30 minutes a few times a day and easing your way back into activity. Stop physical activity if pain or discomfort returns at any point during your rehab. Physical therapy can also help to strengthen key muscle groups and help you get back up to full speed as you work your way back to sporting activities. More than 90 percent of patients can return to sports following a nonsurgical treatment plan.
If conservative care doesn’t work, surgery may be on the table. Using minimally invasive techniques, your surgeon will release the injured connective tissues and then reattach them so they will have a better chance of making a full recovery. Hip muscles will also be loosened during the operation to help release some tension on the recovering tendons and to allow for more range of motion in the area. Following the operation, you’ll have a recovery care plan very similar to nonsurgical treatment methods. Most athletes can return to sporting activities 6-12 weeks after their operation.
For more information about sports hernias, or to set up an appointment with Dr. Koeplin, reach out to his office today.