Return to sports

Return to sports

Return to sports

I operate on a lot of sportsmen and women. Some professional, but mostly high–end very keen amateurs or recreational sportspeople – keen cyclists, footballers, martial arts, tennis, and of course golf.


sportsman – epigastric hernia

The same questions always come up –

When can I get back to training? 

Can I do any harm if I go back too early? 

Can I use weights –and if so when? 

Will there be any long term restrictions on what I can and can’t do in the future? 

















Getting back – Wait 10 – 12 days before going back to the gym. Start slowly, and avoid ‘impact’ activities like jogging.

Going back too early – you have to be sensible and treat this as a sports injury. Your body needs time to repair itself, and will tell you when it is ready.

If you listen to your body you won’t do any harm. Start gently – and IF IT HURTS – DON”T DO IT!. It is almost impossible to ‘spoil’ the repair.

Gentle rowing, cycling and cross trainersare ok activities. You are in control, you can choose the pace, and stop if uncomfortable.

Swimmingis ok but, surprisingly, may be the most uncomfortable exercise initially, because of the amount of stress placed on the muscles around the groin in both freestyle and breast-stroke.

Golf. The swing is very demanding on the abdominal muscles. It will probably be at least 4 weeks before you will feel confident to take a good drive. Putting is obviously ok early on.

Using weights. Start using weights after 3 weeks. Begin with about 2/3 of your usual weight and build up slowly, increasing 10% each week.

Upper body exercises and bench pressare safer than leg work, such as squats.  Be careful with squats, and don’t ‘bounce’ out of a squat.

Abdominal exercises Avoid sit ups – they predispose to groin injuries.

Try to find another abdominal exercise such as straight leg raises.

Competitive and contact sports,( football, rugby, squash and tennis). The problem here is not so much the activity itself but the sudden unexpected twist, turn, lunge or tackle. Probably three months before full on competition.

Martial arts. Again the problem here is the sudden unexpected twist, turn, lunge, with the additional hazard of actually getting kicked in the area. If you are kicked it will not damage the repair, but may set your recovery back a little.

 Long term restrictions– essentially none. You should eventually be able to return to full unrestricted 100% activity by 4 months.

PLEASE let me know if anything is not clear, or if you have any further questions.