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If you regularly play football, rugby or any other type of ‘kicking’ sport, then you are likely to be more prone to an injury known as gilmore’s groin - also referred to as a sports hernia. It’s named after the doctor who first recognised the condition, and refers to tissue damage and tears to your oblique muscles.
Pain during movement when you play sport can often be hernia pain and you will notice this in particular when you are twisting or turning. You will generally feel sore after playing the sport, and could notice stiffness the next day when you are trying to do normal activities like getting out of bed or the car. Sneezing and coughing can also cause pain. You should use a hernia support if you play further sport, although it is usually a good idea to rest from these activities for a while.
Your doctor will be able to make a formal diagnosis after examining you, so at the first sign of hernia pain you need to make an appointment with your GP. They will usually refer you to a physiotherapist, who can show you strengthening and stabilising exercises, including those to focus on your core strength. Using the right type of support, you can usually carry on playing sports for a while, but if the symptoms continue to worsen you will need to be referred for surgery.
Following surgery you need to follow a rigorous programme of rehabilitation in order for the results to be successful. This means no sudden twisting and turning, lots of walking, a good posture and a gradual reintroduction to your sport to avoid further hernia pain.
Keeping up your core strength is a key part of improving your muscle function. This includes exercises such as Pilates, which focus on creating a strong centre. As stiffness and soreness is often present the day after sports, it’s a good idea to keep active every day. Even if you aren’t playing sports, some gentle walking or toning exercises can help to keep you supple and prevent further injury.
The right type of hernia support can help immensely with hernia pain and can help you carry on playing sports until you undergo surgery. These include things such as compression shorts, which can help to support and strengthen your centre, reducing the risk of sudden movements or twists causing further pain.
When playing any sport or exercising it is also recommended to start off gradually, warming up and cooling down properly and not pushing yourself too far too soon. Listen to your body, take expert advice and if necessary take some coaching or lessons to make sure you are carrying out the activity safely and effectively and reducing your risk of injury.