What's the difference between an inguinal hernia and a sports hernia? Are they the same thing?

Sports hernia (also known as athletic pubalgia) has the same name as a true hernia. In reality the two are not alike. A true abdominal, inguinal, or femoral hernia is an abnormal opening in the abdominal wall. Part of the intestine pushes through. The danger is that the bowel can get strangled and form gangrene. This condition can be life-threatening.

A sports hernia is a torn tendon, fascia, or ligament in the abdominal and/or groin area. It isn't life-threatening but it can cause chronic groin pain. Athletes involved in high speed twisting and turning are affected most often. The athlete with a sports hernia won't be able to play in his or her sport until the damage is repaired.


Jolanda Kluin, PhD, et al. Endoscopic Evaluation and Treatment of Groin Pain in the Athlete. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. June 2004. Vol. 32. No. 4. Pp. 944-949.


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