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Sports Hernia Physical Therapy: Common Questions

Despite its common name, a sports hernia is not actually a traditional inguinal hernia. Sports hernias often do not present obvious external signs. Inguinal hernias frequently present a bulge in the abdomen. Learn more about the risk factors, symptoms and how sports hernia physical therapy treatment can help.

What is a Sports Hernia?

A sports hernia, also known as athletic pubalgia or even “hockey groin,” is a soft tissue injury that occurs when the abdominal wall is torn or pulled away from the pubic bone, often due to repetitive strain or stress. These tears can also be a result of imbalances between the hip and abdominal muscles which, overtime, cause injury. 

Sports hernias are commonly seen in sports with sudden changes of direction or intense twisting, such as hockey, baseball, soccer, football, wrestling and even dance. Weakness and/or a lack of proper conditioning may also contribute to a sports hernia. One of the best things an athlete can do to prevent the risk of a sports hernia from occurring is to strengthen their core and lower extremity muscles equally.

Sports Hernia or Groin Pull: What’s the Difference?

Any athlete who participates in sports has the risk to experience muscle strains, especially in the groin area or lower abdomen. How do you know if that strain is a groin pull or a sports hernia? 

Here’s how to tell the difference.

Symptoms: What Does a Groin Pull Feel Like?

Groin pulls are common in sports such as soccer and hockey, accounting for close to 10% of all injuries in those sports. Like other muscle strains, a pulled groin occurs when the athlete tears or ruptures one of their muscles during movement. With groin strains, the most common strain occurs at the adductor longus, although it can occur with any of the adductor muscles. 

Some symptoms include:

  • Difficulty lifting the leg and walking up stairs or to the side
  • Pain and tenderness around the groin
  • Pain with stretching or tightening your groin muscles
  • Relief with rest

Symptoms: What Does a Hernia Feel Like?

Hernia’s hurt. And although they mimic the symptoms of a groin pull, it is a completely separate condition. The biggest difference is that the pain is chronic and can be felt in the abdominals as well.

Patients with a sports hernia may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Increased pain with intra-abdominal pressure from coughing or sneezing
  • Pain that radiates down into the thigh
  • Chronic groin pain that lasts more than 10 days
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction
  • Severe groin pain that gets better with rest but worse with physical activity

Note, a sports hernia does not cause a visible bulge like the common inguinal hernia does.

Treatment: How Can Physical Therapy Help a Sports Hernia?

Like any injury, sports hernias need time to heal. Without proper treatment and recovery, this injury can result in chronic pain and increased risk of future injury. 

At Twin Boro, our sports hernia physical therapy treatment process begins with a comprehensive examination of the patient’s pain level, medical history, mobility, flexibility and strength. From there, the sports rehab physical therapists will create an individualized treatment plan to help the athlete decrease pain, strengthen all of the surrounding muscles and address trunk stabilization.

If you think you might have a sports hernia and are looking for physical therapy to help you safely get back in the game, give us a call at1-732-444-3578. Schedule your no-obligation appointment at one of our 23 convenient New Jersey clinics today. 

Twin Boro Physical Therapy: Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey

Voted Readers’ Choice Best of New Jersey, Twin Boro has provided NJ residents with high quality physical therapy and rehab for over 39 years! It’s our award-winning approach, proven results and reputation that sets us apart. By incorporating the One2Four program into each patient’s program, the latest and most reliable scientific research and techniques are incorporated into effective evidence-based practice. We deliver only the highest standard of care with the unique One2Four approach.

It’s no surprise that Twin Boro Physical Therapy has also been voted the best physical therapy practice in New Jersey by the readers of mycentraljersey.com.

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