Inguinal Disruption (aka Sports Hernia)


14776743_sWhat is it?
An inguinal disruption is when abdominals or associated tendons and surrounding ligaments experience a sprain or tear. Completely unrelated to a hernia associated with intestinal bulging and therefor an attempt is being made to change the common name from sports hernia to inguinal disruption or athletic pubalgia.

Mechanism of injury:
Acute injuries occur with an aggressive twisting and extending maneuver of the trunk and lower body such as kicking a soccer ball or a slap shot in hockey. Chronic injuries occur over time and may not be associated with a specific injury.

Modifiable contributing factors:
• Strength imbalances between the abdominals and lower legs
• Flexibility imbalances between the hip flexors, adductor’s, glutes and hamstrings
• Leg length discrepancy (with a shoe lift)
• Decreased rotational mobility in either hip or low back
• Sudden re-exposure to specific sports

• Hip impingement (either CAM (from the femoral head) or pincer (from the acetabulum on the pelvis))
• Pre-existing labral tears
• Age

What does it feel like?
Pain in the inguinal region (lower abdominals into the groin) that is worsened with coughing, sneezing, physical activity, or sudden movements. Pain usually subsides quickly but return upon return to physical activity.

Help yourself:
Diagnosis is made with an MRI or CT scan. Modifiable contributing factors can be worked on while a small tear heals on its own. Larger tears with require surgery and physical therapy following.


Cassie Butts, DPT
ProSport Physical Therapy & Performance
2777 Bristol Street, Suite B Costa Mesa, CA 92626


1. Ekçi, B. & Beyzadeoglu, T. 2014. Groin pain in athletes – sports hernia and osteitis pubis. In: Canonico, S. (ed.) Inguinal Hernia [online]. Intech. 111-123 Available: [Accessed 5/13/2016].
2. Munegato et al., “Sports Hernia and Femoroacetabular impingement in athletes: A systematic review”. World Journal of Clinical Cases. 3(9) 2015 Sep 16; pg 823-830.


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