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Your Guide to Understanding Sports Hernias and the
 Medical Treatment of
 Sports Hernias
by William Brown, MD
Advanced Medical Treatment for Sports Related Hernias

Post-Operative Care & Rehabilitation

The patient is monitored in the postoperative recovery room. A scrotal support is placed. Ice is applied to the groin. Laxatives are given. The patient is discharged to home after urinating. Dressings are removed that evening. The patient can shower at any time. The patient is warned about possible bruising and swelling. There are no dietary restrictions. A follow up appointment is arranged for one week.

Six-Week Rehabilitation Program

Before you begin your post sports hernia recovery program, keep in mind three very important points over the six-week program:

  1. Remember, every body heals at a different pace. You will heal. Be patient.
  2. Listen to your body. If you experience pain or weakness, do not think twice about delaying your rehabilitation by a few days or even a week or two.
  3. Don’t feel like you’re in your rehabilitation alone. Work with your doctor and/or therapist.

I advise my sports hernia patients to adhere to the recovery program below, which is adapted from the most current British Hernia Society Consensus Statement. It’s a sound program that when followed will result in a remarkable recovery and get you back on the ice, in the field, on the court or wherever you play—quickly and safely.

Week 1: Take it easy

  • Rest. Give your wounds a chance to begin the healing process
  • Walking, climbing stairs and carrying up to 20 lbs (10 Kg) is perfectly acceptable if you can tolerate them
  • Resume normal daily activities

Week 2: The sports hernia rehabilitation program starts

  • Begin isometric abdominal exercise, working transversalis and oblique muscles
  • Add isometric hip flexors, extensors, abductors, adductors and rotators
  • Start your spinal mobilization program

If you have questions on how to properly perform any recommended exercise, consult your doctor or therapist for directions. Exercises performed incorrectly can cause re-injury, putting your recovery at risk.

Week 3: Gently ramp up week 2’s exercises

  • Increase walking using time as a limiting factor, increasing by 5 minutes each day
  • Continue isometrics and active spinal work, 10 repetitions four times daily provided you’re experiencing no unusual pain
  • At the end of week, initiate active assisted Cliniband isokinetic work in functional standing position

Week 4: Mix in functional rehabilitation activities

  • Do mobility work, both active and passive
  • Do stability work
  • Add hydrotherapy
  • Do cardiovascular exercises
  • Swimming is okay
  • Cycling is okay
  • Initiate a running program, progressing from aerobic to anaerobic over the next 3 weeks
  • Do submaximal to maximal isometric hip work (isokinetics if available) using bias towards presurgical isokinetic test results as guide
  • Begin active concentric work once 25% or lower deficit between limbs

Additional functional rehabilitation activities can include those unique or complementary to your sport. Again, if you’re unsure, check with your doctor or therapist.

Week 5: Re-educate your muscles

  • Return to active assisted work to re-educate concentric/eccentric functional pattern
  • Progress your week 4 functional rehabilitation work
  • Begin early sport/occupation-specific rehabilitation phase (for runners this could involve running forwards, backwards, cutting and sprinting)

Week 6: Return to play and work according to your functional ability

  • Add a concentric and eccentric lower limb muscle workout
  • Continue with manual, Cliniband and isokinetics
  • Do general weights work with abdominal belt and lumbar support
  • Soccer players enter full soccer-specific rehabilitation

For your convenience, a downloadable PDF of the above information can be found here.

email or call (650) 703-9694.

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