Athletes Benefit from Chiropractic Care for Sports Hernias

Hernia and groin injuries have been widely reported among soccer players. Sports hernias, or chronic groin pain, account for significant loss of playing time and early retirement from sports. The cause is believed to include muscular imbalances, along with repetitive microtrauma from the repetitive kicks involved in soccer.

The majority of this pain originates from a musculoskeletal problem. It presents a major diagnostic and therapeutic challenge. Surgery is available, but should only be attempted if conservative care has failed. In the case of sports hernias, conservative care does not often succeed. A case report was recently published to shed light one approach to conservative care that has been shown to be successful in treating these injuries.

The case report describes 3 soccer players with chronic groin pain who were successfully treated with 8 weeks of conservative care.1 The multidirectional conservative care approach involved manual therapy, healing modalities, and plyometric training aimed at decreasing the muscular imbalance and improving pelvic muscle function.

All three patients presented with chronic groin pain that was preventing them from being able to sprint, kick the ball, and perform other soccer-related exercises. Treatment for all three athletes consisted of manual therapy 1-2 times per week for 6-8 weeks. The manual therapy included soft tissue therapy to the fascial planes and affected muscles, along with microcurrent treatment, acupuncture, or stretching. This approach was combined with rehabilitation therapy and plyometric training to help improve strength and coordination and correct pelvic muscle imbalances. These sessions were performed 3 times per week for 8 weeks.

All of the athletes were able to resume playing within 4 days of their last therapy session, with no recurrence of pain for at least 2 years after treatment. The authors conclude that the conservative treatment protocol they have described can have a positive, successful outcome on soccer players suffering from a sports hernia. Further research should be done to determine if this approach is successful for treating other athletes.

But chiropractic an do more than treat sports injuries; research suggests regular chiropractic care can help to prevent injuries and may play a role in enhancing athletic performance in some sports. 2-3


  1. Yuill E, et al. Conservative car of sports hernias within soccer players: A case series. Journal of Bodywork & movement Therapies 2012; 16: 540-48.

  2. Hoskins W, Pollard H. The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized control trial. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2010;11:64.

  3. Botelho, Marcelo and Bruno Andrade. “Effect of Cervical Spine Manipulative Therapy on Judo Athletes’ Grip Strength. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapies. 2011, November; 35(11): 38-44.