Sports hernia

Sports hernia, also known as an inguinal hernia or Gilmore’s groin, is named after Jerry Gilmore who first recognised the condition in 1980 and developed a surgical repair technique for it. It is a medical condition that affects athletes, mainly soccer players, but it may also affect those who play ice hockey, tennis, rugby or run track. Men are far more prone to this condition than women.

The hernia is caused by a weakening of the abdominal wall and surrounding musculature and is characterised by a painful dragging sensation along one side of the abdomen and into the groin. The pain worsens with increased abdominal pressure such as when the person coughs or sneezes, bends over or gets in and out of bed or a seat. On examination, there is obvious swelling at the site of the hernia.

Treatment of a sports hernia is always surgery to correct the defect. After surgery, if there is some residual pain then physiotherapy treatment may be beneficial.

The goals of physiotherapy will be:

  • Reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Improve flexibility and condition of the surrounding abdominal and groin muscles.
  • Strengthen the core stabilising muscles.
  • Gradually return the athlete to full fitness.

Resting from competition or strenuous activities is essential to the healing of a sports hernia. Ice only may be applied several times a day for around twenty minutes for the first few days, then after that heat may also be beneficial. Wearing a compression pad will retain heat and provide support.

If you need conditioning after having an operation to correct a hernia, come in and see us.