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Submitted by Jennifer Davies, Health
Baseball players are no strangers to sports injuries,
but not everyone is aware of the less common issues that players can
experience. Sports hernias affect only 5% of athletes, but
the condition is still painful and debilitating. If left untreated, a sports
hernia can keep you off the field for months. Here’s everything that you need
to know about how to identify and treat sports hernias as a baseball player.
What is a Sports Hernia?
A hernia is a painful condition that involves
part of an organ, often the intestines, protruding through the wall of your
abdominal cavity. While sports hernias aren’t true hernias, seeing as there’s
no noticeable protrusion, they can be just as painful. Also known as athletic pubalgia, Gilmore’s
groin, and slap shot gut, sports hernias generally manifest as a pain in the groin region.
Sports hernias most often happen to athletes
playing high-contact sports such as hockey, football, soccer - and yes,
baseball. The condition is the result of repetitive twisting of the waist or
pelvis, which can cause tearing in muscles along the abdomen and pelvis. These
tears can get worse with time, which can lead to the formation of an inguinal
Diagnosing Sports Hernias
Sports hernias can be tough to diagnose in
athletes of all ages. Since there are no noticeable symptoms, as with most
hernias, doctors have to judge by a patient’s pain ratings. Weeks or months of
consistent pain in the groin region may indicate the presence of a sports
hernia, though it’s not guaranteed. It’s a good idea to see a doctor if you experience
symptoms of a sports hernia. They can more accurately diagnose the condition by
delving into your history, including baseball-related activities, as well as
examinations of the lower abdomen, pelvis, and legs. Sometimes, injuries may be
diagnosed using imaging scans such as MRIs.
Treating Sports Hernias
The best thing you can do when you’ve been
diagnosed with a sports hernia is to take some time away from the baseball
field. While nobody wants to be put on the sidelines, powering through the pain
is likely just to end up exacerbating your injury. Not only will this cause
some massive discomfort, but it will end up extending your recovery time.
You can work towards a full recovery by
resting up for as long as it takes for your injury to heal. You may be able to
speed up the process using anti-inflammatory medications, heat and ice
application, deep tissue massage, and other non-operative treatments. For
severe sports hernias, however, you doctor may recommend surgery. While the
idea sounds intimidating, surgery to treat sports hernias is most often
relatively simple and has a 90% success rate.
If you experience pain in your groin when
playing on the baseball field, you may be suffering from a sports hernia. While
it’s not a life-threatening condition, without treatment, symptoms can get
progressively worse. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about diagnosing
and treating a potential sports hernia so that you can get back up to bat as
soon as possible.