A sports hernia is a type of small, inguinal hernia in which the muscles of the abdominal wall weaken or tear and cause pain in the groin area. Athletes engaging in repeated twisting and turning motions are the most susceptible to this type of hernia. It is most common among soccer, ice hockey and football players, as well as with runners.
After engaging in athletic competition, if pain persists in the groin area following an appropriate period of rest, a range of studies -- including MRI, ultrasound and scintigraphy -- may be performed to confirm that there is not another possible source of the pain, such as stress fractures or muscle strains. If the tests are negative, then often a diagnostic laparoscopy is performed to confirm the diagnosis of sports hernia.
When a hernia is identified, a patient may opt to undergo minimally invasive laparoscopic repair. Laparoscopic repair involves a series of three small keyhole incisions ranging from 5 millimeters to 1 centimeter in size. By utilizing these incisions, surgeons are able to use small instruments to begin repairing the hernia from inside the abdomen.
The advantages of laparoscopic repair include a smaller incision, quicker recovery time and less postoperative pain. Patients can usually return home within three to four hours of surgery and may engage in normal athletic activities again in approximately six weeks.
Diagnosing and treating sports hernias is one of the many specialties of the University of Maryland Hernia Center. The Maryland Hernia Center is considered one of the nation's leaders in minimally invasive hernia repair surgery, including the repair of recurrent hernias.
If you would like to make an appointment or talk to someone about our services, please call 1-800-492-5538 (patients) or 1-800-373-4111 (physicians).