by Salvador Saldana

The dreaded hernia. Have you ever worried about potentially getting one in your lifetime? Sports hernias are pretty common in the sports population, but they are also commonly found within the industrial setting as well. Have you ever felt a pull or twinge in the front of your abdomen that caught you off guard when lifting or pulling things that are too heavy or when you’re in an awkward posture? Fear not! Let’s go over the definition of a sports hernia, what causes them, and how to prevent them.

So, What is a Sports Hernia?

–  A Sports Hernia is defined as a bulge in the posterior inguinal wall that represents an incipient inguinal hernia or a tear in the Transversus Fascia of the posterior floor.

–  It is thought that an imbalance between the hip adductors (muscles on the inside of the thighs) and the lower abdominals (deep core abdominal muscles) leads to a weakening, laxity, and/or tearing of the structures in the inguinal region leading to a hernia.

–  The theory around the connection between the abdominal muscles and hip adductor dysfunction is that rectus abdominis weakness leads to overcompensation by the adductors, resulting in compartment-like syndrome as the anterior tilt of the pelvis increases and compresses the adductor compartment.

Umm… WHAT!?

Let’s break that down. In layman’s terms: weak abs and tight hips lead to poor body posture, instability, and compensations. We move differently with structures or muscles that were not designed for that purpose and that are not as strong or as stable. Continuously working with these issues can lead to inflammation and tearing of tissues along the abdominal and groin area, a hernia.

Let’s Review Affected Structures

Anterior pelvic tilt, the top of your hips rotating forward, results in lumbar extension and hip flexion due to the low back muscles being too tight and the abdominals too weak. This can lead to poor flexibility of the hip flexors, the muscle in the front of the hips, and weakness of the gluteal muscles.

What’s the Solution for Prevention?

Exercise and good body positioning! Use PREPARED every day as a preventative tool. For hernia prevention pay attention to:

[P] Pre-shift warm-up
[P] Proper lifting posture
[A] Aligning your shoulders, hips, and toes
[R] Remain in the green zone

Check out this infographic that we’ve created with examples of mobility and stability exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine, during a much needed micro-break, or at home in a strengthening program. As always, consult your Injury Prevention Specialist for further help!

Abdominal Hernia Prevention, Sports Hernia Prevention, Stability for Prevention, Mobility for Prevention
Abdominal Hernia Prevention

About Salvador Saldana, MS, ATC, CAFS

Salvador is a San Diego, CA based Certified Athletic Trainer. He has experience working with youth, collegiate, and pro athletes. He now uses his expertise to serve the industrial athlete and their functional needs. In his free time you can find him homebrewing beer and kombucha, getting worked on the Peloton, or exploring the World Famous San Diego Zoo with his 1 year old daughter. 

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips from Work Right NW!