In athletes, sports hernias are one of the most common causes of pain in the hip and groin area. Each year, sports hernias affect around 5% of adult athletes, which amounts to thousands of students, professionals, and amateurs alike. It’s most common in those who play high-contact sports such as hockey, football, soccer, and the like. The condition is painful, and without treatment, it can put players on the bench for months. Luckily, there are steps you can take to avoid getting sidelined by a sports hernia.
About Sports Hernias
Many older adults are well aware what a hernia is. A hernia occurs when part of an organ protrudes through the wall of your abdominal cavity, causing pain in the gut and stomach region. Sports hernias, also known as athletic pubalgia, Gilmore’s groin, and slap shot gut, aren’t true hernias, though the symptoms are similar. The condition causes pain in the hip and groin area as a result of torn muscles in the abdomen and pelvis. If left untreated, these tears can lead to an inguinal hernia.
Avoiding Sports Hernias
The primary cause of the tearing that leads to sports hernias is repetitive twisting and turning motions in the pelvic area. As such, the best way to reduce your risk of developing a hernia is to be careful when twisting around the waist. While you can’t fully avoid placing a strain on your pelvic area, you can help to reduce the stress on your muscles and organs. Here are some of the best ways to prevent a sports hernia for athletes at any level:
- Use proper technique when lifting, especially with free weights.
- Work your way down to a healthy weight.
- Eat plenty of high-fiber fruits and vegetables to avoid constipation.
- Drink plenty of fluids, both to avoid constipation and to keep muscles functioning properly.
- Don’t force yourself to wait to go to the bathroom.
- Exercise on a regular basis, including core strengthening exercises that work the abdominal muscles.
When it comes to sports hernias, the best path is prevention. Athletes who play a high-contact sport should work to avoid excessive strain around the pelvic area. If you are experiencing pain in your groin area and suspect it may be due to a sports hernia, you should see your doctor. There are plenty of non-invasive treatments that can help to speed up the healing process as well as an operation with a 90% success rate for more serious cases.
By Jess Walter