What is a sports hernia?

A sports hernia develops once there is a weakened muscle or tendon in the lower abdominal wall. This region of the abdomen is the same area where an inguinal hernia develops specifically the inguinal canal. When it comes to a sports hernia, the issue is due to the weakening of the abdominal wall muscles without a palpable hernia.

It is important to note that the inguinal canal is an area in the lower abdomen right above the groin. This canal is formed by the insertions of abdominal tendons and muscles as well as ligaments. Inside the inguinal canal, the spermatic cord (males) or the round ligament (females) travels. Remember that this abdominal region is susceptible to weakening which allows outpouching or a hernia to form.

The issue with the abdominal wall among individuals with sports hernia is not an issue with the muscle strength. Rather, the abdominal wall in the region is thinned out, thus allowing the hernia to develop. Additionally, a sports hernia will not develop in the area of the thickened large part of the muscle.

Indications of a sports hernia

Sports hernia

In most cases, the symptoms can be aggravated by certain activities such as cutting, running and bending forward.

A sports hernia usually starts with a steady onset of aching pain in the lower abdominal region with the following symptoms:

In most cases, the symptoms can be aggravated by certain activities such as cutting, running and bending forward. The individual might have intensified symptoms while sneezing or coughing.

A sports hernia is quite common among athletes who maintain a bent forward position such as in hockey. Nevertheless, hernias can also develop in athletes playing other sports such as soccer and football.


There are a few treatment measures that are proven effective for sports hernia other than surgery. The primary treatment for a sports hernia are the conservative measures in hopes that the symptoms resolve.

Resting from activity, cold therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy are suitable measures to alleviate the symptoms experienced by the individual. Strengthening of the pelvic and abdominal muscles is oftentimes effective in alleviating the symptoms.

In case the measures could not alleviate the symptoms of a sports hernia, surgical intervention might be recommended to repair the weakened region of the abdominal wall. Based on a number of studies, it was discovered that most athletes are able to resume activity after surgery for a sports hernia. The rehabilitation from surgery usually lasts for 8 weeks.


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