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Expert treatment for sports hernias, helping you get back playing the sport you love
A sports hernia is caused by repetitive or abrupt motions during sports, such as the twisting of your pelvis during a game of football or rugby. If left untreated, a sports hernia can become an inguinal hernia, which occurs when your abdominal organs press against the weakened soft tissues, sometimes forming a visible bulge.
A range of treatment options are available for sports hernas, including non-surgical and surgical approaches. We explore these treatment options in more detail below.
Sports hernias are usually treated with surgery by a consultant general surgeon, who specialises in surgery on the gastrointestinal tract and organs within your abdomen. A sports hernia can also be treated by orthopaedic consultants, who specialise in the treatment of problems with your bones and joints as well as sports injuries and other trauma medicine.
At Circle Health Group, we have a large network of consultants who can perform your sports hernia treatment and help restore your health. Call one of our friendly advisors or book an appointment online to get started on your treatment journey.
Sometimes, these symptoms can be managed with a combination of over-the-counter painkillers, rest, and heat therapy (ice packs or heat pads to numb the area and relax your muscles). In other cases, you might need surgery to repair the tear in your groin. At Circle Health Group, we offer a variety of treatment options for a sports hernia.
Our fixed-price packages include the cost of your treatment and all appropriate aftercare appointments. However, any initial diagnostic tests and your consultant's outpatient appointment consultation fee are charged separately. This will all be explained to you at the time and you'll be given prices for everything before you book.
Our flexible payment options help you spread the cost of your payment across a time period that suits you. We offer fixed-term monthly payment plans over one to five years with no deposit required. If you decide to pay over 10 months, you will pay interest-free. If you are paying for a longer period, you will pay 14.9% APR.
If you have private health insurance, sports hernia treatment will usually be covered by your provider. Speak to your insurer directly to find out.
If your consultant confirms you have a sports hernia, they will discuss your treatment options with you, and advise which would be the best treatment for you.
Your consultant will give you a good idea of timelines for treatment during your initial consultation, after which they'll put together a fixed-price treatment package based on everything you have discussed together. Once you've agreed to the costs, we can get you booked in to have your treatment at a time that suits you.
Non-surgical methods to treat a sports hernia include:
Your physiotherapist will build a specialist programme designed to strengthen the muscles around your injury, reduce the pain and swelling in your groin, and improve your mobility. Our hospitals are equipped with advanced equipment to help you recover as quickly as possible.
There are many kinds of injections used to treat sports hernias, including nerve blocking injections and steroid injections. This treatment involves injections of steroid medication (corticosteroid) into your injury. This can effectively reduce pain and inflammation and may be recommended if you can't take oral anti-inflammatories for any reason.
Your consultant will explain whether you need physiotherapy, steroid injection medication, or a combination to treat your sports hernia.
During this kind of surgery, your consultant will make a few small incisions across your groin. They will then insert a small, flexible tube with a camera and light attached to it, called an endoscope, into one of these incisions. This endoscope is connected to a monitor that your consultant can refer to as they perform the procedure. They will insert a series of specialist instruments through the incisions, with which they will treat the damage to your tendon. In some cases, they will reattach fully ruptured ligaments, or use a synthetic mesh to repair the damaged tissue.
Once your hernia has been repaired, the incisions will be closed with dissolvable stitches, which will not need to be removed by your consultant in a follow-up appointment, because they dissolve naturally within a week or two.
You will be under general anaesthesia for the procedure, meaning you will not be awake during it. It takes up to 90 minutes to perform this operation.
You might have to have open surgery if you have a severe tear. During this procedure, they will make one large incision in the middle of your abdomen and repair the damage caused by the sports hernia from there. It will also be under general anaesthesia and could take slightly longer than 90 minutes.
Your healthcare team will ensure you know exactly how to prepare for your surgery, so there won't be any unanswered questions along the way. If you do need to stop smoking for a short period before surgery, they will offer advice and support on how best to do this, as well as how to maintain your overall health and wellbeing in the run-up to surgery.
You won't be able to drive yourself home, because of the effects of the anaesthesia. So, you should arrange for a friend or family member to collect you from hospital. If you would prefer, we can arrange for a taxi to take you, but it's important to have someone help you when you first get home.
You will probably experience some pain after surgery while you heal, but this can be managed with traditional painkillers and usually goes away within two weeks. You might also feel rather tired for a while. It's normal to have some bruising in your groin area where the hernia was.
It's common to be constipated after hernia surgery, so you should make sure to drink lots of fluids and eat a diet rich in fibre.
Your consultant will tell you what to expect from your recovery, including when you can go back to your normal activities. Many people can return to work after just a few days, but everyone is different. Your consultant will provide your tailored advice on how to recover safely at home, including how to wash your wound, when to rest, and how to eat properly to avoid constipation.
After two weeks you should feel well enough to get back to all your usual activities, including light exercise such as swimming and walking.
You might need to avoid more strenuous activities and contact sports until six weeks after surgery, but your consultant will give you a more detailed timeframe based on your individual circumstances.
Usually, the full recovery time from sports hernia repair surgery is about six weeks, though it can be sooner after keyhole surgery. Your consultant will offer you a recovery timeline based on your needs.
As with any surgery, there are possible risks with having sports hernia repair surgery, including a wound infection. However, if you do suffer an infection, this can be treated with antibiotics.
There is a low risk of developing a blood clot after sports hernia repair surgery. But your consultant might give you blood thinners to further minimise this risk. Some people experience severe bruising, but this should resolve with time.
Other potential side effects of sports hernia surgery include:
Yes, don't worry if you experience back pain with a sports hernia. The pain caused by a sports hernia can radiate to your backs, hips, and legs. This can be because the nerves surrounding the affected area in your groin become irritated.
A groin strain will probably heal on its own, but a sports hernia does not usually heal on its own. They typically require non-surgical treatment or surgery.
There are certain strenuous activities and sports you should avoid with a sports hernia. We recommend being treated first and following the advice of your consultant and physiotherapist before returning to running and sport - especially after surgery.
Yes, as mentioned above, the pain from a sports hernia can radiate to other parts of your body - this includes your genitals.
If you want to know more about sports hernia treatment and get advice on the right treatment for you, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.
Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in April 2023. Next review due April 2026.