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Core Muscle Injury (Sports Hernia) Physiotherapy

Core muscle injury, often misleadingly termed as “sports hernia,” is a condition that mainly affects athletes who play

  • soccer
  • hockey
  • football
  • rugby and
  • who run track (track runners)

It is more common in males than females.

94% of these core muscle injuries occur gradually from unknown causes; the other 6% are caused by a specific traumatic incident, such as

  • being "checked" from behind while playing hockey
  • repetitive twisting, kicking and
  • turning at high speeds

Of course casual exercisers and nonathletes can also experience this kind of injury.

Our senior physiotherapists can help individuals with core muscle injury improve their abdominal and hip strength and flexibility in order to safely return to their desired sport or activities. We are also part of the prehabilitation and rehabilitation team for people who require surgery for core muscle repair.

What is a Core Muscle Injury?

Core muscle injuries have been called athletic pubalgia and sports hernia, but core muscle injuries does not typically fit the common definition of a “hernia,” where an organ or soft tissue protrudes outside its normal cavity.

There is no defect in the abdominal wall or herniation of the abdominal contents with a sports hernia. Injury occurs in the form of tears and weakening in the deep layers of the abdominal wall.

  • Repetitive hip and pelvic motions typical in sports can cause injury to the lower abdominal area
  • Muscle imbalances between the hip and abdominal muscles can cause overuse and injury
  • Weakness and lack of conditioning in the abdominals also might contribute to the injury

At the same time and ironically, aggressive and unsafe abdominal exercise programs can also cause or aggravate a core muscle injury.

A core muscle injury usually occurs where the abdominal muscles attach in your pelvis.

There is no protrusion of organs, but there are tears in tendons and muscles, such as those surrounding the hip. This makes the term “hernia” a misnomer, as the term hernia means when organs from your abdomen come out through spaces, such as the inguinal canal. Nerve irritation can also happen, adding to the uncomfortable symptoms.

How Does a core muscle injury Feel like?

Chronic groin pain is a hallmark symptom of core muscle injury, and this injury can cause a lot of training and competition downtime.

It occurs in 5% to 18% of athletes, and varies with the sport being played. Sharp groin pain with exertion is also a typical symptom. Pain often occurs exclusively with

  • intense sprinting
  • intense kicking
  • intense twisting or
  • "cutting"

that decreases quickly with rest.

With core muscle injury you may experience:

  • Sharp or stabbing pain in the groin region that occurs mainly with running, sprinting, cutting, pivoting, kicking, or twisting.
  • Pain felt while performing abdominal sit-ups.
  • Pain that is often isolated to 1 side of the groin.
  • Pain that radiates into the inner thigh.
  • Pain isolated to the groin when coughing or sneezing.
  • Minimal to no pain in the groin when resting, sitting, or sleeping.
  • Tenderness to touch or pressure on the lower abdominal area.

Note: If you have groin pain that isn’t relieved with rest from activity, you could have other potentially serious medical conditions involving the digestive, urinary, or reproductive systems. Consult our senior physiotherapists or your physician immediately.

How Is core muscle injury Diagnosed?

If you see our senior physiotherapists first, we will do and indepth and thorough evaluation that includes taking your health history. Wet may ask whether you:

  • Have groin pain that occurs when you are sprinting, twisting, or kicking.
  • Have had any injuries to your hip, low back, or groin.
  • Have recently completed any intense abdominal or core strengthening exercises.
  • Get relief from your groin pain if you rest or don’t participate in your regular sport or exercise routine.
  • Feel pain in your groin when coughing, sneezing, or "bearing down."
  • Recall a particular movement or incident when you first felt pain in the area.
  • Experience groin pain that limits your desired level of sport performance.

We also will conduct standard strength tests of your hip muscles, and tests to measure the flexibility of your hip and thigh muscles. We will assess how well you can isolate or contract certain muscles. A thorough examination of your hip and low back movements may also be performed.

We may use additional tests to investigate for knee joint or lumbar spine injuries.

To provide a definitive diagnosis, we may collaborate with a sports medicine physician or other health care provider. The doctor may order further tests—such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) — to rule out other injuries to your hip, low back, or pelvis, and further confirm the diagnosis of a core muscle injury.

how our senior physiotherapists can help you

Conservative treatment of core muscle injuries includes rest and physiotherapy.

We will provide treatments to target the key problems found during the examination and design an individualized treatment program for you that targets your condition and goals, to help you safely return to your sport or normal activity levels.

Some cases of more severe injury may require surgery.

Most patients with a core muscle injury are advised to first attempt a conservative  physiotherapy course of treatment for 4 to 6 weeks. If groin pain continues to occur after that time, surgery may be recommended. If you decide to have surgery, our senior physiotherapist can help you regain your strength and flexibility following the procedure.

Treatment Without Surgery

Physiotherapy will focus on addressing the key problems that are found during your evaluation. The key issues that are often found with this injury include poor hip strength and flexibility, and a reduced ability to activate or turn the abdominal muscles to stabilize the pelvis.

Targeted physiotherapy treatments will address your condition without worsening or reproducing your pain.

We will also caution you to avoid certain activities and exercises that cause groin pain. Cold therapy may also be applied to decrease pain in the area of injury. We may advise you to:

  • Avoid aggressive or painful stretching.
  • Avoid stretching your trunk and upper body.
  • Avoid doing sit-ups.

Your physiotherapy treatments may include:

  • Cold therapy and compression. During the initial phases of injury or when high levels of pain are being experienced, application of ice to the area may decrease pain levels.

  • StretchingYour physical therapist may help you perform hip and low back exercises to gently stretch and strengthen your muscles. We will educate you on the proper duration and frequency of exercises to improve muscle flexibility and decrease pain.

  • Muscle retraining. We will teach you to target or activate the abdominal and hip muscles. This is a key part of your treatment; certain muscles may not be "firing" or contracting due to pain and inhibition.

  • Strengthening. Targeted hip strengthening and nonaggravating core strengthening will be started once you are no longer experiencing pain.

  • Manual therapyHands-on stretching, soft-tissue mobilization, and joint mobilization may be performed by our senior physical therapist based on your evaluation. Manual (hands-on) therapy may be performed to improve your hip-joint mobility and range of motion, or ease muscle pain and improve flexibility.

  • Return-to-sport drills. Once you are able to progress without pain during treatment, your physical therapist will add movements specific to your sport or activity into your treatment program. For instance, you may return to running and light sport drills to prepare your body for the stress of full participation in your sport.

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3 easy ways to book your physio appointments with us

WhatsApp Message

Tap or click the image above to whatsapp message us (or this number: +65 88001830)

Phone / Voice Call

Tap the image above (or tap this number +6588001830 to call us on your mobile)


Email me at nigel@phoenixrehabgroup.com

Phoenix Rehab Physio Services

Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.


Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists (sprains and fractures) and fingers, usually will benefit / require Hand Therapy to

  1. manage and decrease hand pains
  2. improve range of motion, strength and dexterity
  3. increase the function of their hand following injuries or post-operations

Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes


Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility and breathing.

It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions.

You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.


  • Cupping TCM
  • Auricular Therapy TCM
  • Herbal TCM Medicine & Supplementation


Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to accelerate recovery and  shorten downtime / recovery period required.

It also prevents muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle performance. Having regular deep tissue and sports massage will keep your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence.

Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.


All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).

See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.

At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.

Follow up sessions are inline to provide expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term solution.

do Tell Your Family, Friends And Colleagues About Us =)

We appreciate you as our valued clients and want you to know that the # 1 way we grow as a clinic / brand is through word of mouth referrals from valued patients like yourself.

We prefer not to rely on advertising - instead, we prefer and appreciate the goodwill and positive reinforcement from patients. When you have the chance, please tell your family, friends and physicians about the positive results and experience you have had in our physio clinics.

3 easy ways to book your physio appointments with us

WhatsApp Message

Tap or click the image above to whatsapp message us (or this number: +65 88001830)

Phone / Voice Call

Tap the image above (or tap this number +6588001830 to call us on your mobile)


Email me at nigel@phoenixrehabgroup.com