Health & Fitness

Pain in the groin? Sports hernia may be to blame

Sports and other physical activities can trigger groin pains. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Whenever you experience pain around your groin, in the inner thigh or the lower abdomen after a sports-type activity or walking, getting out of bed or turning in a bed you may be suffering from sports hernia or athletic pubalgia.

What is it?

A hernia means that organs are protruding in the abdominal area (inguinal hernia), but that is not what is going on. In this case, sports hernia occurs when there is a weakening of muscles or tendons of the lower abdominal wall. It is the same region where an inguinal hernia occurs, but it only occurs when there is sufficient weakening of the abdominal wall to allow a pouch for the hernia to be felt. In sports hernia, the problem is due to the weakness of the same abdominal wall muscles, but no organs are protruding.

Mechanism of injury

It occurs as a result of intense twisting or changes in direction for example when kicking a ball. When the kicking is done intensely, it can result in tearing of muscle tendons or ligaments in and around your pubic bone. In most cases the Adductor Longus (inner thigh muscle) tears first. Ninety of the cases often occur without involving sports activity.


Today it is also seen after delivery in women and even as a result of poor biomechanics.

What will you feel when you have this?

• Pain around the groin area mostly on one leg but can affect both.

• Pain in your abdomen during exertion or coughing.

• Pain increases or is provoked with sudden acceleration, twisting, turning or getting up from lying down.

• Pain lasts for one-two days after exercise. The following day there is the hardness in the groin and difficulty in getting up from the bed.

• Pain diminishes upon resting for a while and then returns upon resuming sports activity.


Seeing a skilled physical therapist after your diagnosis has been confirmed is paramount unless muscle tears are significant for surgical repair.

A treatment plan entails the following;

• Correcting muscle imbalances.

• Releasing any myofascial slings (muscles and its covering) creating bad alignment.

• Increase awareness and correct alignment through therapeutic exercises and hands-on muscle work.

The writer is physical therapist chiropractic & physiotherapy Health Centre.