Why Using a Sports Hernia MRI Protocol Doesn’t Work

Sports Hernia Physical Therapy | Written by Jon Chambers | Updated on 11 August 2021

sports hernia MRI protocol being used as only one part of a successful diagnosis

It is widely thought that a sports hernia MRI is the most suited method for providing an accurate diagnosis. If you are experiencing groin pain, your first reaction is likely to visit your doctor—which is a great idea.

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However, only trained specialists are knowledgeable enough on the injury to provide a correct medical opinion. This is because the injury is relatively new in the medical community—it was first referenced in the 1980s. That means your doctor likely never learned about it.

Luckily though, since then the medical community has gained a much deeper understanding of the injury. With the proper treatment plan and surgery (if it is needed), your chances of a full recovery are very high as long as you follow through with the full 10-week rehabilitation program.

And with that understanding, we now know that a sports hernia MRI isn’t reliable at determining if you have the injury or simply a groin strain (see sports hernia symptoms vs. groin pain symptoms to tell the difference).

Sports Hernia MRI Protocol Doesn’t Work Exclusively

In a clinical report published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, researchers came to a very telling conclusion in regards to sports hernia mri protocols.

They found that, while the scan was effective at exposing other “pathological findings,” it was not an accurate or reliable at determining when surgery was needed versus simply treating it without surgery using a conservative approach.

In other words, they found it was useful for gaining a deeper understanding of the patient to determine if perhaps another issue could be causing the chronic groin pain.

Femoroacetabular Impingement (FAI), also known as hip impingement syndrome, is one of these alternative or additional causes.

Sports Hernia MRI Protocol Radiology

If you believe FAI may be contributing to your pain, sports hernia mri radiology is an effective way to make that call. In a study published in the Sage Sports Health Journal, MD Christopher Larson found that additional surgery to correct FAI after a sports hernia surgery is “reasonable to consider” if your pain symptoms do not resolve.

If you have trouble with hip internal rotation, flexion, or abduction following initial surgery or treatment for athletic pubalgia, it is likely that FAI is present.

If a Sports Hernia MRI Protocol Isn’t the Answer, What Is?

Mentioned above, you should receive schedule a sports hernia MRI protocol screening with your doctor regardless to rule out more serious issues such as bone fractures or structural issues.

However, to receive a complete and accurate diagnosis, the British Journal of General Practice confirms the addition of an ultrasound examination by a highly-skilled specialist is required. While using the ultrasound machine, the doctor will have you hold your breath and push out forcefully against your abs while they check for inguinal ligament pain symptoms and “deficiencies” in your deep inner-abdominal wall (transverse abdominis).

Additionally, they will perform the pubic probe method to make sure your issues are coming from the true indirect hernia pain location. While it is important that they do this while you are being viewed with the ultrasound machine as well, you can perform the test yourself from anywhere for a very accurate diagnosis if you don’t have insurance or are worried about the associated sports hernia surgery costs.

To do this, you will need to be wearing loose shorts or pants. Take your index finger and begin to slowly apply pressure to the tip of your pubic bone—deep in your groin area. If you feel almost unbearable pain, there is a very high chance you have the injury.

In all cases, you should begin the treatment plan as soon as possible. While treating a sports hernia without surgery is possible for some, it will depend on several factors and is not effective at relieving pain for everyone.

About the Author

Squatting 500 pounds on an ohio rogue bar with a sports hernia

Jon Chambers

Jon Chambers is a powerlifter, strength coach, sports hernia expert, and writer involved in the strength training community for almost a decade on a mission to create the best strength and fitness guides on the web.