Pubic inguinal pain syndrome: the so-called sports hernia

Surg Technol Int. 2014 Mar;24:189-94.


The "sportsman's hernia" commonly presents as a painful groin in those sports that involve kicking and twisting movements while running, particularly in rugby, football, soccer, and ice hockey players. Moreover, sportsman's hernia can be encountered even in normally physically active people. The pain experienced is recognized at the common point of origin of the rectus abdominis muscle and the adductor longus tendon on the pubic bone and the insertion of the inguinal ligament on the pubic bone. It is accepted that this chronic pain caused by abdominal wall weakness or injury occurs without a palpable hernia. We proposed the new name "pubic inguinal pain syndrome." In the period between January 2006 and November 2013 all patients afferent in our ambulatory clinic for chronic groin pain without a clinically evident hernia were assessed with medical history, physical examination, dynamic ultrasound, and pelvic and lumbar MRI. All patients were proposed for a conservative treatment and then, if it was not effective, for a surgical treatment. Our etiopathogenetic theory is based on three factors: (1) the compression of the three nerves of the inguinal region, (2) the imbalance in strength of adductor and abdominal wall muscles caused by the hypertrophy and stiffness of the insertion of rectus muscle and adductor longus muscle, and (3) the partial weakness of the posterior wall. Our surgical procedure includes the release of all three nerves of the region, the correction of the imbalance in strength with the partial tenotomy of the rectus and adductor longus muscles, and the repair of the partial weakness of the posterior wall with a lightweight mesh. This treatment reported excellent results with complete relief of symptoms after resumption of physical activity in all cases.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Athletic Injuries / surgery*
  • Chronic Pain / surgery*
  • Female
  • Groin / innervation
  • Groin / physiopathology
  • Groin / surgery*
  • Hernia, Inguinal / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult