Sportsman's Hernia

Spire Washington Hospital are now able to offer an integrated team approach employing a minimal surgery technique that is proving to be successful in the management of Sportsman's hernia with consultant surgeon Mr Kevin Clark.

What is Sportsman's groin?

Sportsman’s groin (also known as Gilmore’s Groin, Sportsman’s Hernia, Athletic Pubalgia or Inguinal Disruption) is an injury commonly suffered in kicking sports such as football and rugby, as well as sports that require an individual to maintain a bent forward position such as hockey.

‘Sportsman’s groin’ is thought to occur when the muscles or tendons of the lower abdominal wall are weakened as the result of repeated micro-injuries. This lower part the abdomen is the same region where inguinal hernias occur. However, whereas in inguinal hernias there is sufficient weakening of the abdominal wall to allow a pouch (the hernia) to be evident, in the case of a Sportsman’s groin there is no actual ‘hernia’.

This can make sportsman's groin difficult to diagnose and treat because of the interplay between the hip joint, nerves, muscles, tendons and ligaments. This means that very similar symptoms can be caused by a variety of different problems. It is therefore essential that expert treatment is obtained, aided by the latest in imaging technology and assisted by specifically designed physiotherapy programmes.

What's involved in a Sportman's hernia operation?

A Sportsman's Hernia is carried out under general anaesthetic. The procedure normally takes between 45 minutes to an hour and patients are normally kept in hospital overnight. At Spire Washington Hospital a minimal repair technique is used for Sportman's hernia.

How long does it take to recover from a Sportman’s hernia procedure?

Recovery is dependent on the fitness of the patient prior to the surgery however it is normally advised that it will take 6 to 8 weeks to be back to normal.  Post-operatively (after surgery) it is recommended that patients see a physiotherapist to aid their recovery and rehabilitation.

Is Sportman’s hernia available on the NHS?

Sportman's Hernia operations are currently available on the NHS but waiting lists are becoming significantly longer. For this reason many people opt for private treatment.

Why should I consider having a Sportman's hernia repair at a Spire hospital?

Whether you have medical insurance or are paying for your treatment yourself, with Spire Healthcare you will be seen quickly by the consultant-grade surgeon of your choice at a time that suits you. You will be treated in a premium private hospital with some of the UK's highest standards of cleanliness and infection control.

To find out more about having a sportman's hernia repair privately or to get a guide price, simply

  • Call us on 0191 418 8687
  • request a callback or
  • complete the form on the right-hand side of this page.

Mr Kevin Clark, consultant at Spire Washington HospitalOver the last 20 years Mr Clark has developed a specialist interest in sport's related groin pain also known as: Gilmore's groin, groin strain or Sportsman's hernia. This condition particularly affects young men and women but predominantly men and usually footballers. Despite this Mr Clark has treated people from a wide range of ages and a wide range of other sports such as rugby, cricket basketball, hockey, golf, running and climbing.

The groin pain can be acute or chronic onset and usually presents as groin pain after exercise. In the later stages it can present during exercise and even prevent sporting activities altogether. The pain usually settles with rest but returns soon after recommencing exercise.  The groin pain is resistant to physiotherapy and most of Mr Clark's patients are identified by physiotherapists specialising in sports injuries.

In 2013 Mr Clark performed 155 operations on 94 patients with over 95% of patients returning successfully to sporting activities. He has worked with players from Newcastle United, Sunderland AFC, Hull City FC, Newcastle Falcons and Durham CCC.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...

Sports Injury Clinic

The Sports Injury Clinic is open Monday-Friday from 7.30am until 8pm, just call us to book an appointment on 0191 418 8687 or email at

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)