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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
- rugby and
- who run track (track runners)
It is more common in males than
94% of these core muscle injuries occur gradually from unknown
causes; the other 6% are caused by a specific traumatic incident, such
- 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
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.
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
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
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
how our senior physiotherapists can help you
Conservative treatment of core muscle injuries includes rest and
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.
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
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
- 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.
- Stretching. Your 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 therapy. Hands-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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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.
PHYSIOTHERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY
HAND THERAPY & SPLINTING
Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists
(sprains and fractures) and fingers, and requires Hand Therapy to increase the function of their hand
following injuries or post-operations as well as custom made hand splints.
Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes
CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES
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
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.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY
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
Done regularly, it will keeps 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
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