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Physical Therapy and Exercises for Sports Hernia

Medikoe Health Expert

Medikoe Health Expert

  Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru     Feb 9, 2017

   5 min     


Sports hernia (also known as ‘Sportsman Hernia’ or ‘Hockey Groin’) is a common injury primarily affecting professional footballers, hockey players, or track athletes. Over 90% of such cases occur gradually with no fixed cause, whereas a few cases of sports hernia occur due to a traumatic incident such as being checked from behind while playing hockey or turning at high speeds to kick/play with the ball. Even fitness enthusiasts and non-athletes can experience sports hernia. Core muscle injury, often misleadingly called a “sports hernia,” is a condition that mainly affects athletes, It is more common in males than females.

What Exactly is a Sports Hernia?

A hernia occurs when an organ pushes through an opening in the muscle or tissue that holds it in place. Hernias are more common in the abdominal region, but can also occur in the upper thigh, groin and belly button areas. Sports Hernia, on the other hand, does not fit into the above-mentioned category. Injuries that include tears and weakening in the deep layers of the abdominal wall come under sports hernia. Repetitive hip and pelvic movements typical in sports can cause injuries to the lower abdominal areas.

Other Defining Characteristics:

Chronic groin pain is the biggest symptom of a sports hernia. The pain is usually restricted to one side of the groin. You could also experience pain in the groin upon sneezing and coughing, pressure on the lower abdominal region, and pain while doing sit-ups. If such types of pain do not dissipate with ample rest, then you should get yourself examined by a physician immediately.

Exercises for Sports Hernia

Some of the recommended exercises for are:

1. Lunge Stretch– Kneel on your right knee and place both hands on the ground between both knees after bending your left knee to a 90-degree angle. Stretch your hips downwards to the floor to stretch your left groin and hold this position for 15 to 25 seconds.                                                                       

2. Sitting Groin Stretch– Sit on the ground and with the use of your both hands grip the soles of your feet. Pull the heels of your feet towards your body and bring your feet together. Bring your upper body towards the ground until you feel a stretch in your groin area.

3. Hip Extension– Lie down on your stomach and elevate one leg 4 to 5 inches off the floor. Make sure that your leg is as straight as possible and hold this position for the next 30 seconds at least. Repeat this step with another leg.

4. Yogic side bends– Sit in a comfortable asana (sukhasana) or stand with your feet at shoulder width, and lift both your hands straight up above your head and tilt to the right side of your body. Hold this position for the next 30 seconds.                                                       

There are some cases of a sports hernia that can be treated only with surgery, but it is not that common. Most physicians and doctors will recommend a rest and rehab 4-6 weeks first, before suggesting the option of surgery.

Physical therapy for sport hernia

Rest and physical therapy play a key role in managing the condition. Your physical therapist may suggest particular movements to specifically target the injured soft tissues and muscles. Your therapist will create a customized treatment plan for you for a speedy recovery. He may also ask you to avoid doing sit-ups or stretching your upper body to avoid any kind of painful or aggressive stretching.

Your physical therapy treatment may include:

  • Icing and compression. During the initial phases of injury or when high levels of pain are being experienced, the application of ice to the area may decrease pain levels.

  • Stretching. Your physical therapist may help you perform hip and low back exercises to gently stretch and strengthen your muscles. Your therapist will educate you on the proper duration and frequency of exercises to improve muscle flexibility and decrease pain.

  • Muscle retraining. Your physical therapist will teach you to target or activate the abdominal and hip muscles. This is a key part of your treatment; certain muscles may not be "firing" or contracting due to pain and inhibition.

  • Strengthening. Targeted hip strengthening and nonaggravating core strengthening will be started once you are no longer experiencing pain.

  • Manual therapy. Hands-on stretching, soft-tissue mobilization, and joint mobilization may be performed by your physical therapist based on your evaluation. Manual (hands-on) therapy may be performed to improve your hip-joint mobility and range of motion, or ease muscle pain and improve flexibility.

  • Return-to-sport drills. Once you can progress without pain during treatment, your physical therapist will add movements specific to your sport or activity into your treatment program. For instance, you may return to running and light sports drills to prepare your body for the stress of full participation in your sport.

Sports hernia rehabilitation programs focus on stretching the lower abdominal muscles as well as muscles in the lower extremities. These stretches target the hamstrings, quadriceps, hip abductors and lumbar spine.

If you are looking for healing and relief from sport-related injuries or sports hernia, book an appointment with the physiotherapists at MEDIKOE.

Tags:  Hernia, Physiotherapy, sports injury, Sports Hernia, Yoga,hernia, physiotherapy, sports hernia, sports injury

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