Sports Hernia, confused a bit scared

Posted in the Hernia Forum


Flushing, NY

#1 Dec 28, 2009
I am almost 100% certain I have a sports hernia. I had a "bump" on my left upper leg for a while then u noticed two small bumps on my left stomach. Then a week ago my whole stomach got sore and my left abdomen feels like dull pain noemy left ball is sore. I lifted weights and just finished an Ironman a few months ago. I had a scan today and they couldn't find anything wrong with me. But I can feel the bump on my abdomen, I am seeing a surgeon next week. What are my options/risks? Anyone ever have a positive experience with surgery, also what surgery "type" is the best? Thanks for the help, I'm a 34 yr old male in solid shape.(well until now)

Houston, TX

#2 Dec 28, 2009
Not sure if it's a sports hernia. You may just have a regular inguinal hernia.
I would see a top lap. hernia surgeon and make sure they use Ultra Pro lightweight mesh or Parietex mesh. You may want to travel to see Dr. Peter S. Billing in Edmonds, WA. Alternatively, you may want to see Dr. Bruce Ramshaw but I think he has quit the University of Missouri. He is moving elsewhere. Hernias often times do not show up on scans. I had a complicated mess which several surgeons tried to fix but couldn't. Dr. Billing finally repaired my hernias,

Hope this helps
Edmonds, WA

Flushing, NY

#3 Dec 29, 2009

thx for ur help. I live in Boston so I figure there must be a good number of surgeons here. Thx about the mesh suggestions, any other thoughts/suggestions?
Eric in SC

North Charleston, SC

#4 Dec 30, 2009
A couple of suggestions: be extremely thorough in your research. Ask a ton of questions; be a pain in the ass. There's way too much smooth marketing around these hernia fixes. The reality is you are considering SURGERY, which is a major insult to the body, no matter how slick the packaging is.

Number two: Keep the canned "2-3 week" recovery period for mesh repair out of your head. That's total nonsense. The British medical literature says 2-3 MONTHS of very low level activity - closer to the truth.

Number three: The European medical literature reports a 25-33% incidence of lingering nerve damage and pain issues post-surgery. The US lit glosses over this.

Number Four: Don't work with anyone that won't prescribe a full Physical Therapy program as part of the effort. You cannot make an unsupervised recovery from hernia surgery back to the level of intense activity you suggest in your post.

Number Five: Consider an old-school "stitch repair". There are few doctors who do this, but a lot of people feel it's superior for active people. The patches and staples used to put them in can interfere with activity.

I didn't do any of these things and have lived to regret it. I was a triathlete like you. Now I'm flat on my ass. I ended up with a staple line that presses against my bike seat (ouch..), and another that shortened across my transversalis, became spastic, and has killed my running and swimming. Fortunately, I have a sedentary job, or I'd be unemployed, too.

Be careful.

Newark, NJ

#5 Dec 30, 2009

Damn thx bro, your the man! I really appreciate your help, do u think that the surgeon's number of years in practice is just as important?

I love the Physical Therapist recommendation, seems to be a huge debate on the Mesh and staples. Good to know how long to think about low activity. Thanks again Eric!!! I would be so disappointed if I can't Tri anymore, good to hear from another Tri-bro

Fort Myers, FL

#6 Jan 4, 2010
Take Eric's advice. It's all good. I had an open stitch repair on the right a few years ago and an open mesh repair on the left last year.
I never had any problems with the right side repair but on the left I have numbness below the incision, swelling of the testicle and pain whenever I get the swelling.
If I ever need another hernia repair, I'll only go with an open surgery and a stitch repair.
Let me know if you have any questions. Take care and good luck.
Jimmy (

Washington, DC

#7 Jan 4, 2010
I would see Dr. Peter S. Billing in Edmonds, WA
So far, we do not know where Dr. Ramshaw is going since he quit his practice in Missouri.

Therefore, stick with Dr. Billing.

Newark, NJ

#8 Jan 4, 2010
Should I not go to a general surgeon here in Boston?

Fort Myers, FL

#9 Jan 4, 2010
There are plenty of great surgeons in Boston. There's no need to travel for a hernia surgery when you have hospitals like Mass. General.
Just be sure the surgeon you select does the type of surgery you decide on. And don't let them talk you into their preference.

Fort Myers, FL

#10 Jan 4, 2010
Mat, just a thought after re-reading your original post, since you mention bumps on your upper leg and stomach (groin?) are you sure the bumps aren't lymph nodes?

Flushing, NY

#11 Jan 4, 2010
jimmy wrote:
Mat, just a thought after re-reading your original post, since you mention bumps on your upper leg and stomach (groin?) are you sure the bumps aren't lymph nodes?
I'm not sure I guess? I had a doctor a while ago say it was a sports hernia. And I have achy balls/nuts...and a dull left stomach pain. My ultrasound came back as normal.

Btw what do you think it could be if it was lymph nodes?

Fort Myers, FL

#12 Jan 4, 2010
Most often swollen lymph nodes are caused by an infection. Something as simple as an ingrown toenail that's neglected can be the cause.
Do you still have the bumps? Are they hard or do they retreat when pressed? Any pain when pressed?

Brooklyn, NY

#13 Jan 5, 2010

just saw my general surgeon. He said that the bump on my upper leg was a lymph node! Damn your good, he didn't think I had a hernia around my groin but he is going to give me a CT Scan and a testicular ultrasound ( I would hate that job). I hope things turn out well.:0)

ps if I don't have a hernia not sure why my balls are sore especially after sex??

Fort Myers, FL

#14 Jan 5, 2010
Mat, shoot me an e-mail at and let me know how you're making out. I'm really glad it's not a hernia.
Ask the doctor to check for epididimydis (sp). It's a possible cause of the sore balls.

Flushing, NY

#15 Jan 5, 2010
I sent you am email thanks for your help!

Altoona, PA

#16 Jan 13, 2010
Eric in SC pretty much nailed it on his list. I would doubly underscore #5 - old-fashioned stitch repair - what is known in the surgical world as "pure tissue repair".(no implants, no meshes) There only seem to be a handful of doctors out there that still believe in the pure tissue repair. Everyone else has gone to mesh implants. But..I will also warn you that not all pure tissue repairs are equal. The gold standard is still the Shouldice technique.

Since: Nov 12

Pune, India

#17 Jan 3, 2013
The Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic is a world leader in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopaedic and sports medicine injuries and illnesses. You can better quality treatment for sports hernia at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. I am working as a sports medicine physician at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. We are dedicated to serving our patients and community with high standards of excellence in orthopaedic care.

Hollidaysburg, PA

#18 Jan 20, 2013
@Kerlanjobe - Hmmm. I visited your website and under specialties I did not see any mention that you specialize in sports hernias - which can be a very elusive and delicate syndrome to properly diagnosis and treat effectively. Who is the ONE SINGLE doctor on staff that primarily focuses on sports hernia treatments and surgeries?

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