A Guide to Sports Hernias for Those Who Don’t Play Sports
Even the most avid couch surfers among us are familiar with at least a few common sports injuries. Ones like a torn ACL, a sprained ankle or a bruised bone or two. One that most of us wouldn’t recognize? A sports hernia.
A sports hernia injury happens when the muscles in the groin area tear. Strain and sudden movements place stress on these tissues, and if the movement has enough force, the muscles can and will tear. This can happen with any sport or activity, from professional hockey to moving heavy boxes. The most common causes are twisting and turning movements, extreme pressure or weight, and quick changes in movement or direction.
Sports hernias are both uncommon and difficult to diagnose. The most common symptom is pain. Sports hernia pain may fade with rest and time, but returns when a patient resumes normal activity. Injured athletes may also feel a stretching or pulling sensation in their lower groin or abdomen area. In men, there may be a visible bulge in that same region. An experienced sports hernia specialist is able to take all factors into consideration to provide a correct diagnosis.
We most often hear about sports hernias when they happen to our favorite pro athletes. It’s key to remember that, while they’re more common in professional athletes, sports hernias can happen to anyone. Luckily, there are several steps that you can take to minimize your risk.
Almost everyone is guilty of skipping those last few ab exercises or forgetting to stretch once in a while. If you want to lower your chances of sports hernia, however, those activities will be what helps most. Strengthening your core (the trunk, lower abdomen, and groin muscle groups) is the easiest way to protect yourself. Stretching regularly and improving flexibility is another good defense against sports hernia injury. Plus, it’s just important to do overall.
Maintaining a healthy diet will also help you avoid a sports hernia. A well-rounded diet should include plenty of fiber, good fats (like olive and coconut oil), protein, and as always, fruits and vegetables. Good nutrition will help your body to more effectively resist injury.
It’s easy to think that a sports hernia could never happen to you. As much as we’d like, it just isn’t that simple. Anyone can experience a sports hernia injury, from professionals to couch surfers. Learning about the symptoms and prevention can make sure that you’re less likely to become one of them.