Questions about Sports Hernia and Sports Hernia Surgery

Does everyone with sports hernia need sports hernia surgery?

No. The majority of athletes with sports hernia respond well to Physical Therapy. The duration of treatment may vary from athlete to athlete, but most return to full athletic activity without sports hernia surgery.

What is the likelihood of success with sports hernia surgery?

If properly selected, athletes should do very well with sports hernia surgery. If the diagnosis is correct and physical therapy has truly been exhausted, then those select athletes should have a near 100% response to sports hernia surgery followed by post-operative rehabilitation.

What are the risks of sports hernia surgery?

Thankfully, most athletes do not have significant health issues which can complicate the operative treatment. The infection rate is less than 1% and risk of bleeding is essentially nil. Postoperative bruising can occur, but this will clear in a few days.

What are the effects of the superficial nerve – ilioinguinal nerve – being removed during sports hernia surgery?

The nerve is removed during sports hernia surgery to avoid the postoperative complication of inguinal neuralgia, a painful complication caused by scar tissue irritating the nerve. This can mimic the symptoms of sports hernia. The nerve supplies skin sensation to the inguinal region. This skin will be numb after sports hernia surgery, but with time this sensation fades. It will always be numb to the touch. More importantly, this has no effect on sexual function or enjoyment.

After sports hernia surgery, what are the limitations?

Athletes should not lift anything heavier than ten pounds for two weeks. Athletes can walk up stairs immediately and drive when the narcotic pain medication is no longer needed. This is usually from 2-5 days postop. During the second week, athletes are instructed to walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes per day. Rehabilitation will start after the two week postoperative visit in the office.

What type of anesthesia is used for sports hernia surgery?

While general anesthesia is preferred and well tolerated in otherwise healthy athletes, choices can be made. Sports hernia surgery can be performed with local numbing medicine and sedation, regional anesthesia such as a spinal or general anesthesia which is being asleep.

Can the physical therapy and/or rehabilitation be done with my local therapist?

Absolutely. Dr. Hoadley treats athletes throughout the southeast for sports hernia. Most athletes travel to Atlanta for Dr. Hoadley’s diagnosis or sports hernia surgery but cannot make a long daily commute for therapy. A detailed program will be provided and this can easily be interpreted and followed by any certified physical therapist in your community. No specific affiliation exists with any physical therapist.

How long until I can play again after sports hernia surgery?

Recovery time varies from athlete to athlete based on the individual’s ability to achieve all rehabilitation goals. In general, playing sports can be achieved in 4-6 weeks after sports hernia surgery. The ultimate goal is for athletes to return to their sport-specific activity with 100% effort free from groin pain.

Can I also get sports hernia on the other side?

Although the true incidence of contralateral injury – or injury to the other side – is not known, it surely can occur. Athletes are constantly generating forces that can lead to future injury.

How can I prevent sports hernia?

No specific regimen exists to prevent sports hernia. The mechanism of injury suggests an imbalance in strength between the core and lower leg muscle. Thus, core specific exercises must be incorporated into any workout regimen to balance the lower extremity exercises such as squats. Core exercises have become an important concept amongst trainers. As these exercises are continued to be emphasized in athletic training programs, there will be a decrease in the incidence of sports hernia.