The management of chronic pain in sportsmen and women requires consideration of a wide differential diagnosis. A syndrome caused by a distension of the posterior inguinal wall is described, effectively an early direct inguinal hernia. The diagnosis can be made from certain aspects of the history and examination, which are described. The results of surgical repair to the posterior inguinal wall are excellent. The procedure was carried out on 14 sportsmen and one woman. There is an 87% return to full sporting activity, with a follow-up of 18 months to 5 years. The remaining 13% were improved by the repair. Many of the athletes had received other treatments without success. The sports hernia should be high on the list of differential diagnoses in chronic groin pain.