Causes of a Sports Hernia and the difference between Inguinal Hernia

What is a Sports Hernia?

A sports hernia is a tear or strain of soft tissue (muscle, tendon, ligament) in the groin area. These soft tissue injuries normally take place where are abdominal muscles (Obliques, Rectus abdominus) and inner thigh muscles (Adductors) attach to the pubic bone. These muscles have a tendency to have a tug of war with each other at the area of the pubic bone as they pull in opposite directions which is why this area is susceptible to soft tissue injury. The straining or tearing of these muscles in the groin area is what is determined as a sports hernia and can present as sharp pain with activity and dull/achy pain at rest. 

Causes: 

  • Sports involving sharp changes in direction and twisting with maximal exertion
  • Vigorous running, jumping, landing
  • Strength deficits throughout hips and core
  • Flexibility deficits of abdominals and muscles of inner thigh 

Difference between Inguinal Hernia:

  • Overtime a sports hernia may lead to an inguinal hernia if left untreated
  • Sports hernias can be treated with Physical Therapy to address individual patient deficits that led to injury
  • Inguinal hernia is when the soft tissue of the inguinal canal tears and abdominal organs (intestines) start to bulge through the tear in the soft tissue
  • Bulge of inguinal hernia can sometimes be visible and palpable 
  • Inguinal hernia hernias do not heal on their own and may require surgery
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