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Sports Hernia

A sports hernia, medically referred to as athletic pubalgia, is a painful, soft tissue injury that occurs in the groin area. A sports hernia is not an actual hernia. Instead, it is an injury to the muscles or tendons in the lower abdomen and groin. It is most frequently observed among individuals actively involved in sports, hence the name.

typical causes:

A sports hernia typically results from rigorous physical activities that involve sharp, sudden movements, particularly those that put pressure on the lower abdomen and groin area. Some sports are more likely to lead to this condition than others. Football, soccer, hockey, rugby, and tennis are all high-risk due to the intense twisting and turning they involve. Specific actions like a sudden change of direction, intense twisting, or a direct hit to the abdomen can cause the muscles or tendons in the groin area to tear, leading to a sports hernia. Overuse is another common cause, as constant stress on the muscles can eventually lead to a tear. Previous injury in the area can also increase the risk of developing a sports hernia. It is crucial to note that while this condition is more common in athletes, non-athletes can suffer from sports hernias as well.

how physical therapy can help:

Physical therapy is a key tool in managing and recovering from sports hernias. It offers pain relief techniques, muscle function restoration, and preventive measures. The goal of physical therapy is to improve symptoms and restore function of the injured muscle. This includes addressing any restrictions or mobility and strength impairments that are either contributing to the onset of the symptoms or are present due to an injury to the muscle. Education about proper mechanics, warm-up techniques, and training protocols is also part of the regimen. Where surgery is necessary, physical therapy aids in post-operative rehabilitation. Overall, it plays a vital role in sports hernia management and recovery.

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exercises that may help reduce pain:

If you experience more pain with these exercises, hold off from that particular movement. 

The Couch Stretch – To do it, kneel in front of a couch or wall with your right knee against it and foot flat on the back. The other leg should be in front, foot flat on the floor. Engage your glutes, and push your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your right hip. Hold for 30 seconds without arching your back. Repeat on the other side. Approach this exercise with caution to prevent overstretching and further injury.

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Shoulder 90/90 Hip Stretch – The 90/90 Hip Stretch focuses on improving hip internal rotation and external rotation mobility. To begin, sit on the floor with one leg bent to 90 degrees in front of you (external rotation) and the other bent to 90 degrees to your side (internal rotation). Gently fold your trunk over your lead leg until you feel a stretch in the glutes and hold this stretch for 2 minutes. Then rotate your trunk towards the other leg to work on internal rotation. You can fold over this leg if needed to feel a gentle stretch and hold for 2 minutes. Repeat this on the other side by switching positions of the legs. Performing this exercise 1-2 times a day can actively contribute to hip health and reduce the risk of injuries.

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Hip Adductor Stretch The Hip Adductor Stretch is an effective exercise beneficial for maintaining hip health and preventing injuries. It involves holding the stretch for 2 minutes on each side, typically performed 1-2 times per day. This exercise targets the hip adductor muscles, enhancing flexibility and reducing the risk of injury.


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