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Sports Hernia Overview


The terminology of a is very confusing, and most people will refer to any groin, thigh, pelvic pain as sports hernia. A sports hernia is not a real hernia (an actual hole in the muscle layer with intestines or fat being caught), and it does not always occur during sports. Other terms have been used to describe the injury, but these are equally non-specific, which include athletic pubalgia, core muscle injury, Gilmoreā€™s groin, Hockey groin, and sportsman groin to name a few. Often these terms are used interchangeably by individuals or used to describe any pain in the pelvic area without specifically localizing an area of injury. There is no single consensus as to what causes a sports hernia; however, there seems to be general agreement that sports hernias result from overuse.

An imbalance of the strength of the muscles that attach to the pubis (front pelvic bone) is a leading theory. The groin muscles in the leg attach to the pubis in a location similar to where the muscles of the abdomen attach.
For more chronic symptoms, there is often an underlying hip problem or a muscle imbalance at the pelvis. In case of muscle imbalance, the lower extremity muscles are significantly stronger compared to the abdominal muscle, which then results in an uneven pull across their attachments at the pubic bone. These counteracting forces across the pelvis are extremely high in competitive athletes, therefore, any significant imbalance can lead to an injury.

There are several different treatment options available for sports hernias and core muscle injuries. For mild or recent cases, a trial of physical therapy is an option; whereas, surgery is often needed for most long staging or more severe injuries. Also, it is important to note that some athletes may respond to a steroid or PRP injection, if they are in the middle of a season.
While there are several surgeries that are suggested for a sports hernia. However, the first step is to correctly identify the location of the injury. In general, repairing the muscles of the inguinal floor is critical and using a no mesh technique is the preferred option for most athletes.


Anthony Echo, MD
6560 Fannin Street, Suite 2200
Houston, TX 77030
Phone: 713-280-3272
Fax: 281-737-4561

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