Posts Tagged ‘athletic pubalgia’

Steroid Injections Can Reduce Recovery Time from Sports Hernia

If you play tennis, soccer, or flag football, you may have felt the painful groin injury known as a sports hernia.

This sports injury, called athletic pubalgia by sports medicine doctors, is a weakening of the muscles or tendons of the lower abdominal wall, causing debilitating pain and discomfort in the groin area.

Sports hernias occur most commonly among professional athletes, however, weekend warriors and athletes making extreme, repeated twisting-and-turning movements are also susceptible to a sports hernia.

In sports such as tennis, soccer, football, hockey, and skating, twisting and turning while moving forward is a necessary athletic skill.

Yet, the repetitive motion may result in sports hernia.

The recommended treatment option has been surgery, however, ultrasound-guided corticosteroid injections are a promising alternative, according to a new study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 59th Annual Meeting in San Francisco, CA.

That study indicates the minimally invasive injections of this powerful anti-inflammatory may be a viable option to speed up recovery time.

“Rehabilitation from surgery can take on average eight weeks,” said Alex Fokin, MD, lead author of the study conducted at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL.

“Since the injury is so common, knowing ultrasound-guided injections are another option for treatment will be beneficial for patients looking to speed up the recovery time with something effective, yet less invasive than surgery.”

For the study, 12 patients, average age 31, diagnosed with sports hernia had ultrasound exams of their painful groins, all revealing damage or a tear around the insertion site of the abdomen or hip.

The patients were treated with an injection of a corticosteroid and anesthetic mixture under direct visualization using ultrasound.

Following treatment, all 12 patients completed a questionnaire to evaluate pain, stiffness, and physical function.

Their overall average scores were low, showing the treatment had been effective.

Based on the objective outcome scores, the researchers suggest the study shows that ultrasound-guided corticosteroid injections are a viable treatment option for patients with sport’s hernia.

Symptoms and Treatments

So how do you know if you have a sports hernia?

A sports hernia will usually cause severe pain in the groin area at the time of the injury.

The pain typically gets better with rest, but comes back when you return to sports activity, especially with twisting movements.

A sports hernia does not cause a visible bulge in the groin, like the more common hernia, what doctor’s call an inguinal hernia.

Over time, a sports hernia may lead to an inguinal hernia, and abdominal organs may press against the weakened soft tissues to form a visible bulge.

Without treatment, this injury can result in chronic, disabling pain that prevents you from resuming sports activities.

See a doctor for a physical exam and imaging tests, such as x-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, to help determine whether you have a sports hernia.

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, treatment of sports hernia includes rest for about a week.

If you have a bulge in the groin, compression or a wrap may help relieve painful symptoms.

Two weeks after your injury you may begin physical therapy exercises to improve strength and flexibility in your abdominal and inner thigh muscles.

Your doctor may recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (ibuprofen or naproxen) to reduce swelling and pain.

If your symptoms persist over a prolonged period, your doctor may suggest a cortisone injection.

In many cases, 4 to 6 weeks of physical therapy will resolve any pain and allow you to return to sports.

If, however, the pain comes back when you resume sports activities, you may need to consider surgery to repair the torn tissues.