Think You Need to See a Sports Hernia Specialist? Take This Quiz!
You’re down with a mystery injury. Call it an ache, a sprain or a twisted who-knows-what, but you’ve been injured and ice and a WebMD search just isn’t cutting it this time. Once you’ve ruled out all the usual suspects, it can be hard to figure out what’s actually wrong. One possibility you might not have considered? A sports hernia. This type of injury is often overlooked, and is notoriously hard to diagnose, even for physicians.
A sports hernia occurs when a muscle or tissue in the lower abdomen or groin area is torn. This usually happens as a result of a twisting movement or a sudden change in direction. Athletes with an increased risk of sports hernia include those just starting or changing activities that haven’t built up the necessary flexibility or core strength. But regardless of what shape you’re in, sports hernias can happen to anyone, from professional athletes to weekend warriors. That’s why it’s crucial to know when to see a sports hernia specialist. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, it’s time to consult with an expert.
Does the pain go away with rest and return with a vengeance when you resume normal activity?
The most common symptom of a sports hernia is chronic pain in the lower abdomen or groin that may subside with rest at first, but comes back with activity. Most mild sprains or strains will heal with time and ice, but a sports hernia is a traumatic injury to the deep tissue, so recovery requires a lot more than just rest. If your pain keeps coming back, discuss your concern with a specialist.
Can you feel any lumps or bumps in the area with your hand?
Sports hernias can also appear as a visible bulge under the skin in the lower abdominal or groin area. But not always, which is why they are difficult for less experienced physicians to diagnose. This is more common in men, but sometimes occurs in women. It’s important to note any changes in the appearance of the affected area to check for changes, which can help a physician diagnose a potential hernia. Often an MRI, is the only way to confirm a sports hernia injury.
Are you less flexible than you were before the injury?
After suffering a sports hernia, the surrounding muscles and tissue are weakened, which may lead to decreased flexibility or pain with movement. If this happens in the injured area, it’s yet another sign that a sports hernia may be to blame. In fact, a main focus of recovery is gaining back lost range of movement and flexibility.
Did the pain occur after you made a sudden twisting or turning movement?
A sports hernia can happen in many different scenarios, but is more common as a result of sharp, twisting movements. Frequent or sudden changes in direction place incredible strain on the muscles, causing them to tear. If you’ve been avoiding stretches or core exercises lately, you may have a sports hernia. Sports hernias come from all sorts of activities, from hockey to figure skating to weightlifting, and even lifting something.
If any of these answers apply to you, get in touch with Dr. William Brown to confirm your symptoms and help you start treatment so that you can get back to full strength as soon as possible. Dr. Brown and his team work with athletes of all types, from amateurs to the pros, and have years of expertise diagnosing and treating sports hernias.