Hi all, I thought I would share my sports hernia story. Perhaps it may be of some use to someone.
It's quite long though so perhaps I should summarize it in a few lines at the beginning here:
- I had a sports hernia for 2 years. Common symptoms being dull pain in right groin.
- It got a lot worse after the first year. Even walking too much would cripple me.
- I saw several GP's and surgeons and spent 6 months just waiting to see people/get tests done.
- I went to see Dr Gilmore and had surgery for a Gilmore's Groin.
- I seem to be better and can run again!
I first noticed the symptoms about two years ago, during a game of football that I played once a week with people from work. I'd just started playing again (I'm 31 by the way) and this was maybe the sixth week or so along. I developed a dull aching kind of pain low down in the right groin, it seemed fairly localized most of the time but would 'radiate' over a bigger area when it got worse.
It did not feel like any kind of sprain or pull I'd ever encountered before and, for a short while, it didn't stop me completely playing football.
I'm sure a few people reading this will be familiar with the symptoms. Any kind of 'sudden' movements, especially breaking into a sprint would increase the pain. It wasn't cripplingly painful or anything, but it did slow me down and got worse throughout the game and would ease off when I stopped moving.
The next day or three I would often feel worse than the day I played and more noticeable getting out of the car or bed and when walking about. However the symptoms would fade away during the week until they were practically gone and then I would go to play again the following week. Almost immediately the symptoms would return and the same process happen again.
I think at the time it first occurred I thought it may have been some sort of strain I'd never had before and I would do more pre-game 'stretching', which obviously didn't help.
After a few weeks it was if anything getting worse so I figured this wasn't something I could 'run off' and stopped playing completely for about 6-8 weeks or so, doing no real exercise of any kind during this period. The symptoms faded away after a week or so, but from what I can remember there was always some kind of subtle 'feeling' or sensation in the affected area, that it wasn't quite right.
After the 8 weeks or so I felt pretty good though and tried to play again and again the symptoms returned immediately and about that time I thought something was pretty wrong here and started doing some searching online looking for anything that matched the symptoms.
I came across some site that described various hernia symptoms which also mentioned sports hernias. From what I could make out I didn't match the descriptions for normal (inguinal?) hernias so much but the sports hernia description was a pretty good match.
It was still probably 7 months or so before I saw my GP and what she basically said was that it was a groin strain and I should see a physiotherapist, she did the cough test and felt for any signs of an inguinal hernia and there was nothing to find. Since I was unfamiliar with the idea of Doctors being completely wrong I just left and went back to my normal routine, I wasn't playing football so I wasn't having any particularly troubling symptoms and I found that I could use some machines in the gym like the cross-trainer, stepper, rowing machine, cycle etc with no real issues.
After about a year though an incident occurred where I was walking home drunk one night and went to kick an old can lying in the street. Anyway, I booted it so hard that the momentum caused my left foot to slip out from under me and landed pretty much on my back. I just got up and went home but the groin area felt a little bit 'odd' after that. The next day or so I was at the gym and started developing some new and somewhat more worrying symptoms. From the affected groin area and right across the centre of the pelvis I suffered from a strange, crippling kind of pain that felt almost like I was 'sick' or, as someone suggested, as if I'd been kicked in the groin but the pain was higher up across my pelvis. I had this feeling for about a week, it was bad enough that I had to take days off work sick and just lie on my back in order to feel any better, walking could be quite difficult.
I now decided to do what the GP had suggested earlier and went to see a physiotherapist, however (after testing my hips) she said it was nothing that she could help with. Anyway I suddenly started to feel somewhat better and after a couple of days could go back to work normally. From now on though I would never feel totally okay and my right groin always felt troubled. If I did any kind of exercise other than walking then I would get a relapse of these symptoms a couple of days later.
I kind of got by like this for a couple of months without any serious incidents occurring again until I came back from a weekend trip away on a stag do and a couple of days later had to take more time off work because the symptoms returned.
I went to the GP again (it was a different one this time for some reason) hernia. He also did the inguinal hernia cough test again and said it wasn't a hernia. I told him I knew that and suggested a sports hernia. He had actually heard of them but didn't know anything about them so he referred me to an orthopaedic physiotherapist. Now I'm in the UK and don't have health insurance so everyone I get referred to is done via the NHS and I'm about to find out that if you have a problem that is hard to diagnose then it's going to take a looooooooooooong time to get anywhere.
I have to wait for a month before I can see the Ortho physio and he tests my hips and actually thinks that I might have a sports hernia. Interesting thing that happened here is that he tried to test for dilation of the superficial inguinal rings but did it wrong. Anyway he now refers me to an orthopaedic hip surgeon, so I have to wait for another month before I can see him.
During this time I'm having to take at least one or two days off work to rest because just walking too much now causes the symptoms to get worse.
I go to see the hip surgeon guy, have an x-ray done and he wants me to have an MRI scan on the area. This ends up with me having to wait for six weeks to get it done and THEN I end up having to wait for another two months just to get the results back (which I got back in February of this year).
The results were basically a letter saying 'can't see any tissue/hernia damage, may have some slight irregularities on hip that may cause minor impingement.' Oh, and he also referred me to another surgeon, although the letter didn't mention what this surgeon specialized in - I figured it was another hip surgeon but it turned out to be a hernia specialist (I think, it's irrelevant anyway).
With all the waiting I was doing I'd had time to do a lot of reading about the problem. I'd come across this thread and the various specialists mentioned here and also I'd come across the website for the 108 Harley Street Gilmore Groin hernia clinic in London (I live in Manchester).
I also read up about FAI after getting that MRI letter back and was a bit worried that may have been a possible cause of the problems I was having (although it turns out in the actual MRI report it was mentioned that it probably wasn't FAI - it just didn't say that in the letter they sent me).
After about two weeks waiting to get an appointment letter to see the next surgeon I just got fed up of waiting and made an appointment at the 108 Clinic to see Mr Gilmore the following week.
I've read a few accounts on this board from people who've seen him and someone mentioned that he had zero empathy and was difficult to talk to. However this wasn't really my experience and he seemed perfectly reasonable to speak with and asked me about my work and if I followed any sports or whatever and he was generally quite helpful. He asked me a lot of questions about the symptoms and when they occurred and looked over the reports from the previous surgeons I'd seen. He did an examination and also tested for dilation of the superficial inguinal rings like the orthopaedic physio had tried to do. He obviously did it correctly though because on the right side it hurt like hell and left side was just uncomfortable. He diagnosed me as having Gilmore's Groin in the right side and said it probably wouldn't get better without surgery, which I booked to have the following week. Including all the consultations the total cost of the surgery was about 3k - I didn't require any work on my adductors either.
Anyway, I had the surgery about six weeks ago and at the time of writing this I really feel quite good. I had hardly any issues after the surgery and didn't need to use any of the painkillers I had. I could walk the day after and walked every day for the first couple of weeks. After two weeks I was back in work and I started going running after three or four weeks. Now I'm trying to run every day for a half hour or so and can sprint again. These activities were impossible for me before I had the surgery and would have left me crippled for days, therefore so far I would say it has been extremely successful.
If anyone is contemplating letting someone operate on them who isn't a specialist in this type of injury (like a regular hernia surgeon perhaps) or hasn't much experience with them, I would seriously suggest they reconsider and see someone like Mr Gilmore or perhaps one of the other names mentioned in this thread.