Sports Hernia: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

If you play sports and have experienced pain in your groin, it is likely that you are suffering from a sports hernia. A sports hernia occurs when the abdominal muscles and tissue stretch or tear due to repetitive motions of the upper body during physical activity. This article will discuss what causes sports hernias, how they are diagnosed, and what are hernia treatment options. 

What Are The Causes of Sports Hernia?

The groin muscles are the ones that support the weight of your abdominal organs. These muscles can be strained if you put too much strain on them, which is what happens with many sports injuries and activities. The two most common conditions for this to happen are iliopsoas muscle strains or adductor muscle strains. A combination of one or both of these types of injuries can lead to sports hernias.

A hernia is a pretty simple medical term that means the organ has slipped through where it doesn’t belong and goes into another location in your body (in this case, between the muscles).

This type of injury is common with athletes who play soccer, football, hockey, rugby, or any other sport that requires lots of running and kicking. Those who are involved in sports with frequent bursts of sprints can also suffer from this injury.

Hernias happen more often to males than females simply because men have larger muscles on average compared to women. Older people are often at greater risk for hernias as their muscles are not quite as elastic and strong.

There is no age limit on getting a sports hernia injury; women can get it too (especially those who perform lots of lunges), and even children under the age of 18 have been diagnosed with this condition.

What Are The Sports Hernia Symptoms?

Many different symptoms can present themselves to an individual who has a sports hernia. Following are the common symptoms based on which doctor suggest sports hernia treatment for you:

  • Lower back and leg pain: Lower back or thigh pain is one of the most common symptoms. This may be felt when standing up, walking, running, or even sitting down for a long time. The pain can worsen as you do any kind of physical activity such as exercise, sports, and weight lifting, etc. Sometimes it becomes difficult to stand up straight and walk because the pain is so severe.
  • Swelling: Another common symptom is swelling in one or both of your legs, which can be caused by fluid building up. This may not seem to cause any problems, but it will only worsen as time goes on if you do not treat this problem properly. It also makes sports hernia treatment difficult.
  • Trouble with bowel movements or urinating: There are cases where individuals have trouble going to the bathroom because of a sports hernia too. This is because when you stand up, your bladder and rectum may be put under pressure which causes pain while using them. In some more serious cases, it can be difficult to urinate.
  • Tightness: The most common symptom is a feeling of tightness in your groin and lower abdomen, which goes away when you lie down or sit. This can make it difficult for individuals to do any physical activity such as exercise, sports, and even weight lifting, because they will feel pain while doing anything.

What Are The Sports Hernia Treatment Options?

Depending on your symptoms, the doctor may suggest the following sports hernia treatment options for you:

  • Painkillers: These can be given to an individual who has a sports hernia if they are in severe pain. However, these should not be taken for too long as they may cause health problems later on, such as stomach irritation and ulcers, among others.
  • Surgery: The most considered sports hernia treatment option is surgery. In most cases, the doctor will perform a keyhole surgery where only small incisions are made, and they do not have to open up your groin area, which can lead to scarring. The recovery time for this procedure is also very short the amount of pain and discomfort you feel.
  • Kinesiology Taping: This hernia treatment option can be done to support your groin area and speed up the healing process while you rest or do not take part in any physical activity for a while until it gets better on its own. It also allows an individual to get back into their routine quickly without causing any pain or feeling of tightness in the groin area.
  • Physical Therapy: This hernia treatment option can be done to strengthen your core muscles by doing certain exercises and stretches along with wearing a sports support belt which aims at providing gentle compression around your hip joint, pelvis, and abdomen region during physical activity, so you can reduce pain and feeling of tightness.


In some cases, a sports hernia does not heal on its own, and you have to go through the above-mentioned sports hernia treatment options as soon as possible. In these types of situations, it is important that you seek medical attention right away so they can diagnose your problem and start with the appropriate course of action. This will be effective in reducing the amount of pain you feel and speed up the recovery time more quickly so you can get back to your daily routine without any restrictions or limitations.

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