The term "sports hernia" has been used over time to describe a variety of issues, and the medical and rehabilitation community has recently been provided with more clear definitions and descriptions of the condition. Sports hernia has referred to groin and pubic injuries and dysfunctions, as well as abdominal wall disruptions. Clinical diagnosis and treatment has often been challenging because of the inconsistency in definitions, recognition of signs, symptoms, and optimal treatment approaches. A clinical article update published last year states that the term "sports hernia" is a misnomer as there is no classical herniation of soft tissue. The article further describes how the term has become synonymous with sportsman's hernia, athletic pubalgia, and Gilmore's groin.
Improved terminology to describe a sports hernia may be an "inguinal disruption" as referenced in this website of Dr. William Brown. (His site, www.sportshernia.com also includes anatomy images and descriptions of a sports hernia.)The anatomy most often involved is the oblique muscles and accompanying aponeurotic fascia, the adductor attachments to the pubic bone, and occasionally the pubic bone itself. Sports medicine literature, and research involving hockey players in particular, has been rich with reports of players who have had a repair of the aponeurotic fascia and/or oblique muscles, followed by a short period of rehabilitation and a full return to sport. Other commonly involved athletes are those who participate in football, soccer, and tennis. Any sport that may include explosive stops and starts with twisting, turning, and lower extremity rotations can result in a sports hernia.
Institute faculty member Steve Dischiavi has been on the front line of treating athletes with abdominopelvic injuries, and he has prepared an outstanding continuing education course complete with many videos, assessment techniques and intervention strategies. To learn more about differential diagnosis and treatment of the lumbo-pelvic-hip complex, join Dr. Dischiavi this August in Arlington, VA for Biomechanical Assessment of the Hip & Pelvis.