Athletic Core Injuries
By Jackie Brady, MD

The athletic core/groin injury, also termed “sports pubalgia” or the misnomer “sports hernia,” involves the confluence of muscles in the abdomen and pelvis. Patients who are at risk involve explosive kicking, twisting, and sprinting athletes, who pull hard on the region that the rectus abdominis and adductor muscles come together to stabilize. Once injured, this area can be difficult to treat, especially if the injury is severe and requires an attempt at reattaching muscles that have very short tendinous portions. The best strategy is therefore prevention. The return to high intensity athletic activity after a period of rest can always involve injuries, so we are keeping a close eye on our high school and collegiate athletes as they ramp back up to full participation in practices/games and in weight rooms. Athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, and physical therapists know maneuvers to prevent athletic core injuries, including traditional plank exercises, and side plank exercises that might involve a dynamic lift to more specifically activate the muscles. Bridge exercises can also involve a dynamic component (lift the pelvis from the ground) to activate and strengthen the muscles in the core. A good baseline strengthening program usually involves the “kinetic chain,” which involves both the core and lower extremity musculature. Attention to balance of the various muscle groups will minimize overuse injuries. As athletes return to spring sports, these strengthening and prevention programs are more important than ever. Consult with your friendly neighborhood trainer or physical therapist to learn more and implement a plan that is right for you or the athlete in your family!