A sports hernia is a condition that involves a soft-tissue injury to the groin area, and it’s a bit different than a traditional hernia. A standard hernia occurs when part of an organ pushes through a weak area in a muscular wall, like in the abdomen. A sports hernia is slightly different, and involves the tearing of tendons that connect to the pelvic area.
Sports hernias typically occur as a result of a sudden or repetitive twisting motion, and it’s easy to see how sporting activities can put stress on the groin area. Sports like hockey, football and skiing commonly put a lot of pressure on the hip and groin area, so it’s not uncommon for these athletes to present to our clinic with a sports hernia. Below, we talk more about how we treat sports hernias with physical therapy at our clinic.
Treating Sports Hernias With Physical Therapy
If you are dealing with tightness, soreness, pain or discomfort in the groin region and you believe you may be dealing with a sports hernia, head to your doctor’s office for a diagnosis. Or better yet, head straight to a physical therapist’s office and cut out the middleman! We’ll ask you about your symptoms, have you perform a few movement screening tests and figure out the best course of recovery.
For minor or mild sports hernias, conservative care may be your best option. A combination of rest, physical therapy, ice and anti-inflammatory medications can help you overcome the injury. Physical therapy will be the most helpful of the above options, as this will be what will strengthen the tendons and supporting structures to prevent stress from being so taxing on the area.
It’s also imperative that you stop athletic activities, or at least modify them while you recover. If you keep doing the same actions that led to the sports hernia in the first place, the tendons are not going to be able to recover. Moreover, they may become even more damaged, leading to the possibility of a longer recovery period or the need for surgery.
Surgery and Rehabilitation After Sports Hernia Surgery
If you have a significant sports hernia, you may need to undergo a minimally invasive operation to strengthen the tissue. After the operation is complete, your physical therapist will become your best friend because they will be the one guiding you on your recovery journey. Physical therapy is essential after sports hernia surgery because it will:
- Strengthen The Area – The tendons will be weak following the trauma of surgery, so you’ll need to strengthen the area with targeted exercise.
- Reduce Likelihood Of Another Injury – You’re much less likely to do damage to the recovering area if your rehab program is being overseen by a physical therapist as opposed to doing exercises you found online on your own. It’s not just about doing physical therapy, it’s about doing the right exercises carefully.
- Increase Flexibility and Range Of Motion – You’ll also want to increase flexibility and range of motion in the hip and groin area, especially if you plan on returning to athletic activities. We can help you slowly and carefully work to expand your range of motion as you progress through rehab.
- Decreased Pain – Physical therapy also helps to control long-term pain. You may be a little uncomfortable during your PT exercises, but these are being done to maximize your recovery and reduce the likelihood that long-term discomfort will linger. It’s worth the short-term effort for long-term relief.
- Safely Return To Sport – Finally, your physical therapist can set up a rehabilitation and conditioning routine that ensures your groin and your whole body is ready to return to the rigors of your sport. We can provide you with medical clearance and ensure your fitness doesn’t fall off while you’re on the mend. You’ll make a faster and stronger return to sport if you do so with a physical therapist by your side after sports hernia surgery.
So if you believe you’re dealing with a sports hernia or you will soon be undergoing sports hernia surgery, start thinking about where you’ll turn for physical therapy. If you’re in the greater Twin Cities area, we’d love it if you allowed the team at OrthoRehab Specialists to help guide you on your recovery journey. For more information, or for assistance with other physical injuries, give us a call today.