Anyone who has ever played sports knows that there are certain risks that come along with the territory. Most people are lucky enough to never face any serious injuries, but lack proper preparation and healing time in-between mild injuries and getting back in the game can lead to much more serious issues arising. One of the most common injuries that face athletes today is called a sports hernia and it can keep you on the bench for quite a long period of time. Though it isn’t necessarily considered to be among the most serious injuries you could incur, sports hernia is serious enough that it can make you sit out for the rest of a season and even cause complications further down the road.
The hardships of sports hernia are particularly close-to-home for me because I personally experienced this injury in my senior year of college. Don’t get me wrong; I wasn’t anticipating going pro or anything, but having your college football career cut short because of a sports hernia isn’t at the top of my list of college highlights. However, I was fortunate enough to work a desk job from home for a company that sells sparklers on the internet, so I was able to continue working after my injury. Not everyone has this luxury, so knowing what to do to avoid getting injured as well as knowing the best ways to go about recovering from a sports hernia can make a big difference in any athlete’s life.
What is Sports Hernia?
A sports hernia is an injury that occurs in the groin area due to soft tissue damage. By definition, a sports hernia is a strain or tear of any soft tissue (muscle, tendon, or ligament) in the lower abdomen or groin area. Many people confuse a sports hernia with other types of traditional abdominal hernia injuries, but they are different altogether because there isn’t a tear that goes all the way through. However, a sports hernia can lead to an abdominal hernia which is even more serious and painful because the damaged soft tissue is more susceptible to tearing.
Treatments for Sports Hernia
If you want to avoid surgery and attempt to recover from your sports hernia in a more natural way, the first thing you’ll need to do is rest. You need to rest for at least one to two weeks without any strain on the abdominal region to allow the strain or tear to start healing. You can use anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to reduce the pain and swelling if necessary, as well as ice the sore area as needed. After the initial rest period, you may start exercising slowly to gradually build your strength back and generate new muscle growth to strengthen the area around your injury.
For more serious sports hernia injuries, it is possible you’ll need surgery. Usually this surgery is done using endoscopic methods meaning that only a small incision is required to insert the camera and surgical tools necessary for repairing the tear. Since the surgery is not too invasive and is only repairing surface tissue, most athletes can expect to return to the game in around two months to ten weeks.
Avoiding Sports Hernia
Avoiding an occurrence of sports hernia is best achieved by wearing the proper protective and supportive gear such as support cups and jock straps. Additionally, physical conditioning plays a large role as well as flexibility. Sports hernias usually occur in vigorous sports such as ice hockey, soccer, wrestling, and football due to the twisting and brute force required for performing common movements in those games. By ensuring that you are flexible enough for those movements and have built up your stabilizer muscles, you can reduce your risk of sustaining an injury such as a sports hernia under normal circumstances.