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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, and 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.
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
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.
March 1, 2011
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
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