A Sports Hernia by Any Other Name is Still as Painful

A sharp, shooting pain around the groin that gets worse when you sneeze, exercise, cough, lift something heavy, or play sports. Could be anything. Could be a pulled muscle, an overworked area, a strained ligament. But what if it doesn’t go away, even after you have rested given the injury a chance to heal?

It could be very possible that it’s a sports hernia injury. This often-misdiagnosed condition affects many athletes, but very few can immediately pinpoint it. In fact, very few doctors even know what they’re looking for. Regardless, it’s a very real, very painful condition for those suffering.

The pain associated with sports hernias typically feels like a sharp pain in the lower groin area, the thigh, or the testicles. The pain is usually only on one side, and may get temporarily better if the athlete takes it easy for a while—but it always returns and usually with a vengeance. The pain begins when a tendon, a muscle, or a ligament in the lower abdomen or groin area rips.

Most athletes feel this pain and assume they’ve strained or pulled something. Because sports hernias are not a widely-known condition they often get mistaken for something else and misdiagnosed by doctors.  And because athletes don’t seek treatment specifically for sports hernias, the pain continues needlessly longer than it has to or should.

No matter what a doctor or individual may call the condition—strained muscle, exhaustion, cramps, injury to the lumbar spine, hip joint bruising, pulled tendon, soreness—it still hurts, and athletes will need a proper diagnosis from an expert.

Sports hernias are typically specific to sports, since they develop due to the repetitive, quick movements that many sports require, as well as athletic twisting and turning while playing. Any player can get one, even athletes in top-notch shape. Those who play tennis, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer are most susceptible, as well as those who wrestle, kayak, and run track. Yet, sports hernias also occur from activities like lifting groceries.

The term “sports hernia” was virtually an unknown to athletes and doctors until 2005 when NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb underwent surgery to correct his sports hernia.

While these hernias can be very difficult to diagnose for some doctors. Then there are specialists like Dr. William Brown in Fremont, California who can diagnose a sports hernia by careful evaluation of the athlete’s history and by doing a specialized physical exam. Dr. Brown has been working in the field of sports hernias since 1999, and is an expert at diagnosis, treatment, and recovery for athletes of all kinds whose passion is being hindered by these painful injuries.

If the symptoms described here sound like something you’re experiencing, it’s very important for you to get a skilled diagnosis to find out if you have a sports hernia. Contact Dr. Brown and get on the road to recovery.