Football Injuries and the Sports or Football Hernia


This article is by The physiotherapist at the Angel Sports Injury and Physiotherapy Clinic in Islington and it looks at:

  • what is a sports or football hernia

  • how do you get a football or sprots hernia

  • symptoms of a fottball or sports hernia

  • what physiotherapy can do for a sports or football hernia

Hernias are common football injuries amongst the professionals but they also occur in the amateur player as well. Professionals such as Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard have had to undergo surgery for hernias and currently Steven Gerrard is undergoing rehabilitation for a hernia.

What are the Symptoms of a Hernia

The first thing to look at is what were you doing at the time of injury. Twisting and turning aggressively such as tackling in football or playing tennis or hockey can cause the initial injury. Also:

• Dull ache in the groin area and often accompanied by sharp pains, especially after activity involving hip flexion and/or twisting. Such an activity can be as simple as sweeping or something more demanding such as playing football or tennis or moving furniture.
• Pain is often felt off of the corner of the pubic bone, and can radiate to the testicles.
• This is often accompanied by adductor muscles tightness and often pain in the adductors. It can be difficult and painful to squeeze the legs together because of this.
• Pain can also be felt when twisting, from the pubic bone up to the inguinal ligament. This pain can also refer around to the hip and lower back.
• There can be irritation of the nerves that travel to the perineum and genitals.
• It can be painful to externally rotate your bent leg, but it can also hurt to internally rotate your femur. This is often misinterpreted, as a hip problem attempting to kick a football with the inside of your foot is such a movement that can induce sharp pain. Sitting crossed legged.
• There can be intense pain while trying to get up out of bed, causing the sufferer to need to roll off of the bed as opposed to sitting up first.
• In general, bearing down, as in coughing, can be painful, just as in an inguinal hernia.
• There can be intense pain following activity and stiffness in the groin and hip area, this improves with rest and responds to anti-inflammatory medicine.

It is suggested that up to 20% of athletic and sports injuries are groin related and a sports hernia needs to be ruled out.

football injuries and physiotherapy and the groin strain or football herniaSports hernias occur because of the tremendous force generated when twisting and turning. These turning forces disrupt the muscles (the rectus abdominus muscle which combines with the transversus abdominus to form the conjoined tendon) where they join the pubis. At this location the conjoined tendon pulls up and rotates the trunk, and the adductor longus pulls down and rotates the upper leg. When the forces are excessive and imbalanced, a sports hernia can occur.

Core Muscles

Physical therapy for sports hernia focuses on stretching the low abdominal and lower extremity muscles and tendons. The core muscles oppose the highly developed leg muscles and to prevent them form being ‘torn’ during the contraction of the leg muscles they need to be strengthened to prevent them form pulling away from the pubic bone.

If you suffer from groin pain or any of the other symptoms listed here you should make an appointment with our physiotherapist and get a diagnosis. If you have had surgery for a hernia or are returning to sport, a physical assessment should be undertaken to discover where there are areas for potential injury and what action needs to be taken.

To speak to a physiotherapist or to make an appointment at Islington’s Angel Sports Injury and Physiotherapy Clinic please click below.


sports injury and physiotherapy treatment in islington