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A Journal on Sports Medicine

Official Journal of the Italian Sports Medicine Federation
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Medicina dello Sport 2011 June;64(2):113-23

language: English, Italian

Sport hernia: a missed cause of chronic groin pain in athletes

Guglielmi A. 1, Folath M. 1, Mariani P. P. 2

1 Villa Stuart Clinic, Rome, Italy
2 Foro Italico University, Rome, Italy


Sports hernia is a painful groin pathology that affects male athletes. It is difficult to diagnose since it is frequently confused with the different pathologies of the inguinal region. Sudden movements of the trunk may lead to a laceration of the aponeurotic fascia of the abdominal musculature or a bulging of the posterior wall of the inguinal canal that cause localized suprapubic pain radiating to the thigh. There is no visceral extrusion in sports hernia. The pain is caused by irritation of sensory nerve fibers of the ilioinguinal or genitofemoral nerve. Proper physical preparation is fundamental especially in prevention. Physiotherapy is indicated for acute cases, while surgical treatment is preferable either after failure of conservative treatment or in cases where the diagnosis has clearly demonstrated an alteration of the posterior wall of the inguinal canal. Treatment should combine neurolysis of the sensory fibers, while preserving the motor fibers, and repair of the muscular defects.

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