More and more people are getting involved with sports for both exercise and personal well-being. However, if you are new to the sporting scene, you do not want to overdo things and risk an injury. This article will look at ways to avoid hernias in sports.
The Sports Hernia
In sports, the most common injury labeled as a hernia is not a hernia at all. A true hernia involves an organ, usually the small intestine, or fatty issues pushing its way through a weak spot in the muscle wall. A sports hernia normally involves a painful strain in the groin muscles. However, it is important to remember that a sports hernia can put you at greater risk for a true, abdominal hernia.
The sports hernia is an overuse injury and can be found most frequently in sports that involve quick and powerful changes in direction like soccer, hockey or tennis. Thankfully, although it is a common injury, it is normally not a serious injury. The most common prescription is rest for healing and over-the-counter pain relievers.
Preventing a Sports Hernia
The best way to prevent a sports hernia is to develop greater flexibility and strength of the groin muscles. Make sure your muscles have been warmed before starting your activity. Do some stretches before and after your sport. You might also try some basic yoga as a way to do intentional stretching.
The Abdominal Hernia
A true, abdominal hernia is a more serious injury. While not the most common sports injury, a hernia is often caused by putting extra strain on abdominal and groin muscles. This can happen if you are lifting too much weight during strength training sessions. Anyone who lifts weights can run the risk of this injury, whether that person is a weightlifter or is doing strength training for another sport.
It is important to avoid this injury because, although it is rarely life-threatening, a hernia is very uncomfortable, and it can only be repaired with surgery, which carries its own complications. There will be time lost to the recovery process and post-surgical pain. Even with repair, a hernia can reappear in the same place. There can also be complications from hernia mesh, a common tool used to strengthen the muscle wall at the site of the injury. When properly used, hernia mesh is generally considered a safe tool, but there is the possibility of rejection of the mesh, leading to the need for another surgery.
Preventing an Abdominal Hernia
To prevent a hernia, it is important not to put too much strain on the muscles of the lower abdomen and groin. If you are lifting weights, make sure to use proper form, with most of the lifting power coming from your legs and knees rather than your back and core. Take your time in figuring out your limits. Do not try to take on too much weight at once. Instead, work up to a heavier load over time. It should also be noted that the weight belts that many weightlifters use are a tool for stabilizing the back while lifting. They are not designed to support the abdominal muscles so are not meant to prevent hernias.
Sports are a wonderful way to take care of your body. Just allow your body to ease into the new movements and stresses. With some preparation and common sense, you can avoid hernias and other sports injuries.