To clarify, never had a full-blown sports hernia—but in the past 2 years what I have overcome is a severely imbalanced pelvis, pain in the pubis symphasis, pain in the testes, never-ending pain in the adductors, sciatica, achilles issues, popping/releasing in lower back/abs/sacroiliac joints, pain in shoulders/wrists/elbows. What I have in common with SH runners is that 1) the whole problem was self inflicted due to an endurance sport and 2) I had nasty pain and discomfort in my entire pelvic region and I had no idea how to fix it.
My torn left RF from 1999 was surgically repaired in 2000, but the surgery was not entirely successful or even needed. The RF is still functional and I can extend my knee, but it simply does not bear weight or generate power when I cycle. I think it’s my body’s way of protecting it form further damage. My surrounding quad muscles in my left leg have adapted and learned how to take the work load of cycling and my spin scan shows that my left leg does 48 or 49 % of the work during cycling.
To answer the question: “did your pelvic floor hurt, and experience tightness?”---
In October 2004 I was climbing in the saddle and I felt a massive “pull” of my right adductor and a heart-wrenching pain in my pubis symphasis. When you feel a pain in your symphasis you know that something is horribly wrong and you wonder if you’ll ever be normal again. I remember that my symphasis would hurt when getting into a chair and I could feel it ache at night. My testes also hurt. My right adductor also hurt nonstop for literally a month. I was extremely bound up and tight in the whole pelvic region and I felt dull aches everywhere in there—but there was no single injury or sharp pain that I could identify.
Looking back, I had gradually rotated my pelvis forward and up on the right side during thousands of miles of riding and that one day I literally blew out my pelvic integrity. I think this is similar to a running SH where you run for thousands of miles and one day you “blow out” a weak link and experience pains everywhere from the compensatory muscles kicking in and tightening and pulling on things and being pulled.
Another question: “i have all those phantom pains in the hip, buttock (like sciatica), groin, rectus, etc... come and go throughout the day, and never hurt all at once. the pain near the scar does coincide with si joint-area pain, though, and often referrs to pf.
sound familiar to your case?”
During my recovery I felt sharp “electric” pains in my pubis symphasis probably 5 times in total. I would also occasionally think I pulled my right or left groin. So- yes- there were some weird pains that scared me but I think as things “shift” you are bound to activate some nerves here and there.
As for my imbalances being genetic—I would say they are. I remember that I could never kick my right leg correctly during the breast stroke during swimming lessons when I was 9 years old. I was also unable to ski using the parallel method as a kid. Even as far back as 1990 I was definitely imbalanced.
“However, can you tell us what kinds of things you did to overcome this?
What are the exercises?
What wieghts did you do to strengthen?
What stretching did you do? Yoga?”
First you have to believe that you can recover from the injury. This took me about 6 months to do. I began seeing a chiro about 2 months after the injury. That helped to slightly loosen up my joints. I was extremely bound up and tight in my entire lower back and pelvic region. In the summer of 2005 I started doing various stretches. I basically had to loosen everything up. At that point I could still hardly walk. Imagine walking with your right shoe on and your left shoe off. That’s what it felt like. The problem with stretching is that your muscles often become tighter as a result. It would often take me several weeks to loosen a muscle to the point where it would not tighten up to worse than before. This general stretching got me to the point where I could ride a bike gently.
My major developments beyond that can be attributed to relaxing, strengthening various muscles, and recruiting the right nerves. I actually stopped stretching in mid 2006 because it would simply make me tighter than before. I learned that relaxing produces the best results in trying to achieve symmetry. The main relaxing position is the “active rest” position. This is where you lay on your back and have your knees bent at 90 degrees with your feet touching the ground. This takes all the pressure off your psoas and helps it relax and lengthen. From that position I then do various yoga and ab techniques—things like lifting you bent knees off the ground and side to side.
My most recent major development has been starting from my toes and feet and re-teaching my body what muscles to use when walking and supporting body weight. It’s a bit hard to explain but one of the things I am working on is sitting in a chair and contacting the ground with my right foot at the proper pressure points. When I do this and slightly lift the arch, my whole right glute and ab area starts twitching because these are the right muscles to use, but they are extremely weak and have never been used.
Forget going to chiros and PT’s—what you need is somebody who makes you strip down to your underwear and do various movements so your biomechanical flaws can be pinpointed. I think you can get an acute SH in a sport with lots of twisting and turning (hockey, soccer) but as a runner you will get one by gradually breaking down an important supporting muscle. I guess it’s possible that you have perfect biomechanics and you truly have a weak link, but I think that improper biomechanics and hundreds of hours of uneven shearing forces is what leads to SH’s in runners.