Explaining a sports hernia, and how it can impact a player like Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Reports are that OBJ has been playing through a hernia and may need off-season surgery.
Updated: Dec. 9, 2019 at 2:55 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -It’s no secret Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has not had his best year this season and it might be because he’s playing through a hernia as it’s being reported.

While Summa Health’s sports medicine Dr. Mark Cipriani has not examined OBJ he does have some insight to what he might be going through.

“The symptoms of a sports hernia may prevent an athlete from performing at their highest level,” Cipriani said.

To understand what might be limiting OBJ it helps to understand what a hernia is, and the difference between a hernia and what’s known as a sports hernia.

A hernia is normally defined as tissue, or even an organ, that protrudes through a wall of muscle and may cause a bulge under the skin.

One of the more common areas to have a hernia is between the pubis bone and the hip, in the groin area.

But a sports hernia can be different according to Cipriani.

Most sports hernias are not the separation of the muscle wall, but instead torn tendons that are attached to the pelvis.

“A sports “hernia” is often not a true hernia in that there is often no defect in the groin or abdominal wall,” Cipriani said. “Athletic pubalgia is another term often used to describe symptoms consistent with a sports hernia. Symptoms most commonly present as groin or lower abdominal pain associated with repetitive, chronic stress to the muscles or tendons of the groin.”

Hernias do not heal themselves and often require surgery to get the tissue or organ to stop poking through the wall of muscle.

“A sports hernia can be very painful, especially with muscular activation and explosive activities,” Cipriani said.

While painful they are not typically considered a serious health risk.

“Symptoms often persist for weeks-months rather than days-weeks,” Cipriani said. “Surgery can be considered for symptoms which fail to improve with conservative measures or earlier in elite athletes who are unable to perform at their peak level through their injury despite treatment. Recovery time varies on the severity of the initial injury and treatment options chosen.”

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