Surgical management of sportsman's hernia in professional soccer players

Orthopedics. 2012 Sep;35(9):e1371-5. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20120822-24.


Soccer players frequently experience acute and chronic groin pain. Sportsman's hernia is a common injury in professional soccer players, that causes inguinal pain. The authors discuss their experience with the management of sportsman's hernia in professional soccer players competing in national and international competition in a retrospective review of prospectively collected data. Between March 2004 and December 2009, seventy-one professional soccer players were surgically treated for sportsman's hernia. Average age at surgery was 24 years, and average duration of symptoms from onset to surgical repair was 11 months. Conservative treatment improved symptoms temporarily or to some extent in 18 athletes. All athletes underwent a bilateral open hernia repair with concurrent adductor tendon release. Average follow-up was 4 years, and average time to return to competitive sport was 4 months. At final follow-up, 95% of soccer players were still active, 48 at the same level and 19 at a lower level. Four athletes had stopped their careers because of another injury (n=2) or recurrence (n=2). Sportsman's hernia is a potentially career-ending injury in professional soccer players. Conservative management is often unsuccessful. An open surgical hernia repair combined with an adductor longus tenotomy relieves the symptoms caused by a sportsman's hernia and restores activity in 95% of athletes. This study offers insight into the management of sportsman's hernia and offers a successful treatment to salvage the careers of professional soccer players.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Hernia / diagnosis*
  • Herniorrhaphy / instrumentation*
  • Herniorrhaphy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult