The symptoms of sports hernia can mimic those of many other types of common groin injuries, and there is no definitive diagnostic test making it a difficult condition to diagnose.

Symptoms can also be vague, with athletes unsure why they have suddenly or gradually seen a drop in their athletic performance.

Symptoms of sports hernia:

Symptoms of sports hernia may include one or more of the following:

— Sudden and severe groin pain at the time of the injury.

— Groin pain that goes away with rest, but returns during sports activity.

— Groin pain that is more commonly felt on one side of the groin area only (unilateral), rather than on both sides.

— Pain that only appears during twisting movements.

— Pain associated with other movements that involve the deep abdominal muscles, such as half sit-ups (stomach crunches) or coughing.

— Tenderness or bruising in the upper thigh and/or lower abdomen.

— Groin pain that gradually increases from intermittent to constant, and/or pain that develops to the point playing sports becomes impossible.

Nonsurgical treatment:

Physicians who advocate nonsurgical treatment options for sports hernia typically recommend a four-step care protocol, as follows:

Rest: Athletes are required to take a break of 4 to 6 weeks from their regular sports and any other strenuous activities to give the injured tissue(s) time to heal on their own.

Anti-inflammatory drugs: Patients may take anti-inflammatory pain medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) to help relieve pain and decreased inflammation of affected tissues. In some cases, oral steroids may be administered.

Physical therapy: Following the initial rest period, the patient undergoes a physical therapy regimen that focuses on strengthening the abdominal muscles as well as stretching the lower abdominal muscles and leg muscles. Additional treatments may include dry-needling, therapeutic massage, and ultrasound therapy.

Injections: There are multiple types of injections used to treat sports hernia, such as steroid injections, nerve blocks administered to the ilioinguinal and iliohypogastric nerves, or platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection. Any one of these options can be used to provide pain relief.

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