‘Treatment of the Sportsman’s groin’: British Hernia Society’s 2014 position statement

This study’s objective was to produce a multidisciplinary consensus to determine the current position on the nomenclature, definition, diagnosis, imaging modalities and management of Sportsman’s groin (SG). Experts in the diagnosis and management of SG were invited to participate in a consensus conference held by the British Hernia Society in Manchester, UK on 11-12 October 2012. Experts included a physiotherapist, a musculoskeletal radiologist and surgeons with a proven track record of expertise in this field. Presentations detailing scientific as well as outcome data from their own experiences were given. Records were made of the presentations with specific areas debated openly. The term ‘inguinal disruption’ (ID) was agreed as the preferred nomenclature with the term ‘Sportsman’s hernia’ or ‘groin’ rejected, as no true hernia exists. There was a very strong agreement of opinion that there was abnormal tension in the groin, particularly around the inguinal ligament attachment. Other common findings included the potential of external oblique disruption with consequent small tears noted as well as some oedema of the tissues. A multidisciplinary approach with tailored physiotherapy as the initial treatment was recommended with any surgery involving releasing the tension in the inguinal canal by various techniques and reinforcing it with a mesh or suture repair. The authors added here that a national registry ought to be developed for all athletes undergoing surgery.

The study concluded that ID is a common condition where no true hernia exists. It ought to be managed through a multidisciplinary approach to guarantee consistent standards and outcomes are reached.

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