Five Things Your Competitors Can Teach You About Sports Hernias
Every day, it seems like there’s new headline about yet another world-class athlete sidelined by injury. Sometimes it’s the usual culprits: an ACL tear or even a concussion. But sometimes it’s something more unexpected: a sports hernia injury.
When considering possible causes, a sports hernia is often at the bottom of the list – or not even considered at all! It can take multiple visits or even specialists to diagnose the injury. Sports hernias can bench an athlete for weeks or even months. That’s why today’s top athletes spend time focusing on the key ways to prevent sports hernia injuries before they happen.
Here are a five things you can learn from the pros:
- Athletes are familiar with the importance of a balanced, healthy diet, and they know that maintaining one can help build strength and resilience. But smart athletes also know that a well-rounded diet can help prevent injury. Watching your diet can help reduce your risk of a sports hernia by promoting healthy muscle growth and balance. Eating right also allows you to train more safely, and developing a stronger core further reduces your risk for a sports hernia.
- Top athletes make stretching a priority. Flexibility is key to reducing the risk of many types of injuries, but especially sports hernias. A strong, flexible core will provide better protection against muscle and tissue tears. This is especially important for athletes in high-impact sports and those that involve sudden twists and turns, like hockey and dance. Incorporate a mix of both static and dynamic stretches into every workout to improve your flexibility over time and eventually lower your risk of injury.
- Smart individuals also know the warning signs of a sports hernia. Everyday aches and pains are just part of competition, but when it becomes something more, they know what to look out for. Sports hernias are most often characterized by a chronic aching pain that may go away with rest, but returns with activity, often worse than before. This is due to the underlying cause, a tear in the lower abdominal or groin muscle that no amount of rest can repair.
- High-performing athletes also take the time to educate themselves on the causes of sports hernia injuries to minimize their risk, regardless of whether there are million dollar contracts or achieving a personal best is at stake. Sports hernias happen most often as the result of sharp, sudden, twisting movements. They can also occur during heavy lifting, or when muscles in the lower abdomen and groin area are pushed beyond their normal flexibility. These situations can come up in nearly every sport, from running to swimming to football. By knowing your own strength and taking care to maintain a balanced core, you can reduce the risk of sustaining a sports hernia.
- Finally, your toughest competitors aren’t afraid to admit a weakness – they know to seek out help when it’s needed. Sports hernias are easily misdiagnosed, so it’s best to see an experienced specialist. Dr. William Brown and his team have spent years treating professional athletes like the San Jose Sharks, and can help you get back on the road to recovery.