Treatment of Sports Hernias

The Spire Regency Hospital Cheshire offers specialist sports hernia surgery and we treat both professional and amateur sports people from all over the North West and Yorkshire.

Sports hernias can be treated with keyhole surgery at Spire Regency Cheshire

A sports hernia (or sportman’s hernia), is often misdiagnosed as groin strain and generally affects athletes. Both amateur and professional football and ice hockey players are most commonly affected.

Spire Regency Hospital's consultants Mr Arif Khan, Mr Sajal Rai and Mr Mohammed Saeed specialise in the treatment of sports hernias and are experts in laparoscopic (key hole) surgery.

What is a sports hernia?

A sports hernia is caused by a weakening of the muscles or tendons of the lower abdominal wall. This part of the abdomen is the same region in which an inguinal hernia occurs, but when an inguinal hernia occurs there is sufficient weakening of the abdominal wall to allow a bulge or lump, (the hernia), to be felt. In the case of a sports hernia, although the problem is due to a weakening in the same abdominal wall muscles (athletic pubalgia), there is no palpable bulge or lump and so it is often misdiagnosed.

Symptoms of a sports hernia typically begin with a slow onset of aching in the lower abdominal region and the groin. Pain is exacerbated during sports movements, particularly hip extension, twisting and turning. This pain usually radiates to the adductor muscle region and even the testicles, although it is often difficult for the patient to pin-point the exact location.

Typically, the day after activity, the patient will feel stiff and tender and getting out of bed or a car will be very difficult. Any exertion that increases intra-abdominal pressure, such as coughing, sneezing, straining or sporting activity can cause pain. In the early stages, the person may be able to continue playing their sport, but the problem usually gets progressively worse.

What treatments are available for sports hernias?

The initial treatment of a sports hernia is usually conservative in the hope that the symptoms will resolve. Physical rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, ice packs and physiotherapy may temporarily alleviate the person’s symptoms, but in general, there are no treatments that have been shown to be as effective as surgery.

As pain in the groin and pelvis areas can be caused by referred pain from a number of other problems, including injuries to the lumbar spine, the hip joint, the sacro-iliac joint, the abdomen, and the genito-urinary system, diagnosis of a sports hernia is usually based on the patient’s history and clinical signs. Frustratingly, patients can sometimes see several consultants or doctors, prior to diagnosis of a sports hernia.

Unlike most sports injuries that can be diagnosed by X-ray or scan, there is no diagnostic test to confirm a sports hernia. A misdiagnosis by a doctor unfamiliar with sports hernia symptoms can lead to chronic pain, and in the case of athletes, an unnecessary delay in returning to athletic competition.

For more information ring our friendly Customer Services Team on 01625 505 412/406.

Professional sportsman comes to Spire Regency

Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman Scott Basiuk had a sports hernia repair at Spire Regency, Cheshire

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