Sportsman’s hernia or athletic pubalgia is a well-known medical condition affecting mostly athletes. It is caused by the gradual weakening of the posterior wall of the inguinal canal (between the thigh and the lower abdomen), resulting in an invisible, small and undetectable hernia, during examination.
It is a syndrome characterized by chronic groin pain and a dilated superficial ring of the inguinal canal. The frequency and intensity of the symptoms gradually worsens. The pain usually occurs in the inguinal area, in the perineum and in the buttocks. The increase of intra-abdominal pressure (e.g. during coughing) may reproduce the pain or cause radiation of the pain to the testicles. Football players are affected most frequently, and both recreational and professional athletes may be affected.
Surgical therapy is required for permanent treatment. Laparoscopic extraperitoneal repair with mesh placement (TEP technique) is the gold-standard in the treatment of this syndrome. The repair of the hernia is performed through 3 incisions of a 5 mm, without injuring the muscles of the lower abdominal wall. The main advantage of this technique is the fast recovery and immediate return to normal activity, which is essential, especially for professional athletes.