A sports hernia is an injury of the inguinal area caused by repetitive twisting and turning at high speed. This type of hernia occurs mainly in people who play ice hockey, soccer, or tennis.
Although the condition is known as a hernia, in many cases an obvious hernia is not seen. The main symptom is groin pain that may reach into the genital area. The pain can linger for weeks or months. Sports medicine experts think that the condition results from overuse of groin muscles, which causes stress on the inguinal wall.
A sports hernia can be hard to diagnose. Often an athlete has had lingering groin pain for months. A doctor may note inguinal tenderness but find no bulge of tissue. To help diagnose a sports hernia, the athlete may be asked to perform maneuvers, such as sit-ups, to see whether they cause pain.
Resting the groin muscles for several weeks sometimes can resolve the problem. But, in many cases, surgery is needed to reinforce the inguinal wall. Competitive athletes may prefer to have surgery right away to resolve the problem.
Medical Review:William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine