Six-Week Rehabilitation Program for a Remarkable Sports Hernia Surgery Recovery (Part 1)

rehab_sm_1Having diagnosed and surgically repaired sports hernias for patients from around the country, as well as hockey players for the San Jose Sharks, no one understands your urge to get back to life as usual like my staff and I do. However, surgically repairing an inguinal disruption (sports hernia) is in fact a surgery, and recovery needs to be taken seriously. Not doing so can prolong your healing time, or worse, cause re-injury that requires additional surgery.

Before you begin your post sports hernia recovery program, keep in mind three very important points over the six-week program:

  1. Remember, every body heals at a different pace. You will heal. Be patient.
  2. Listen to your body. If you experience pain or weakness, do not think twice about delaying your rehabilitation by a few days or even a week or two.
  3. Don’t feel like you’re in your rehabilitation alone. Work with your doctor and/or therapist.

I advise my sports hernia patients to adhere to the recovery program below, which is adapted from the most current British Hernia Society Consensus Statement. It’s a sound program that when followed will result in a remarkable recovery and get you back on the ice, in the field, on the court or wherever you play—quickly and safely.

Week 1: Take it easy

  • Rest. Give your wounds a chance to begin the healing process
  • Walking, climbing stairs and carrying up to 20 lbs (10 Kg) is perfectly acceptable if you can tolerate them
  • Resume normal daily activities

Week 2: The sports hernia rehabilitation program starts

  • Begin isometric abdominal exercise, working transversalis and oblique muscles
  • Add isometric hip flexors, extensors, abductors, adductors and rotators
  • Start your spinal mobilization program

If you have questions on how to properly perform any recommended exercise, consult your doctor or therapist for directions. Exercises performed incorrectly can cause re-injury, putting your recovery at risk.

Week 3: Gently ramp up week 2’s exercises

  • Increase walking using time as a limiting factor, increasing by 5 minutes each day
  • Continue isometrics and active spinal work, 10 repetitions four times daily provided you’re experiencing no unusual pain
  • At the end of week, initiate active assisted Cliniband isokinetic work infunctional standing position

Come back next week for Part 2 of the series or visit our website for complete instructions, including a downloadable PDF.