With sports hernias so often misdiagnosed and the injury often misunderstood by athletes and physicians alike, it’s helpful having a glossary of sports hernia-related terminology for easy reference.

Fully understanding the underlying issues surrounding sports hernias can help end chronic pain for the athlete and result in a quicker, accurate diagnosis and treatment. Any athlete who suffers chronic groin pain that is aggravated by sports and subsides with rest should be strongly considered to have a sports hernia.

Adductor release: Adductor release involves moving the adductor tendon from its bony attachment to the pubic bone and reattachment to the adductor brevis muscle.  This moves the tendon only a few centimeters, but allows the tendon to heal quickly. It has the added benefit of decreasing the stress on the symphysis pubis and thereby decreasing the pain associated with osteitis pubis.  Athletes do not have any loss of strength and often have an increase in the range of motion of the hip joint.

External inguinal ring: The slit-like opening in the aponeurosis of the external oblique muscle of the abdominal wall where the spermatic cord (round ligament in the female) the inguinal canal.  It is usually enlarged in athletes with a sports hernia because of a treat in the external oblique muscle.

Inguinal disruption: Official name for sports hernia as deemed by the British Hernia Society in a recent consensus statement.

MRI: An MRI (or magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a radiology technique that uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. MRIs are effective in diagnosing a sports hernia.  The newest 3 Tesla MRI machines give much better images than the older 1.5 Tesla machines.

Osteitis pubis: Is inflammation of the pubic bone base of the penis or mons. The pain is aggravated by exercise. It can be visualized on MRI or bone scans. Patients with osteitis pubis are considered for release of the adductor longus tendon to decrease the shear forces caused when joints shift.

Sports hernia repair open operation: Allows a full evaluation and repair of the damaged muscles. The nerves and tendons are then easily seen, evaluated and treated. Mesh is not needed because the repair is low tension.  Dr. William Brown prefers this method for sports hernia repair surgery.

Sports hernia repair laparoscopic procedure: The laparoscopic procedure involves placing a large piece of plastic mesh to reinforce the lower abdominal wall; the muscles are not repaired; the mesh can potentially cause problems from shear stresses and nerve damage. The mesh is extremely difficult to remove if it becomes a problem. The laparoscopic procedure has to be done under general anesthesia, whereas the open procedure can be done easily with sedation and local anesthetic.

During the course of diagnosis and sports hernia repair, a physician is bound to use medical terminology with which you’re unfamiliar. You should never be hesitant to ask your doctor for a simpler explanation. If you have questions, feel free to contact Dr. William Brown. He personally responds to patient questions.