Post-Op Rehabilitation

Stretch the groins 2 - 3 times a day

Wear compression cycling-type shorts for 2 weeks

Anti-inflammatories and pain killers as necessary

Stretching

Following surgery all athletes should perform stretching exercises of their groin area every day after surgery for several weeks commencing the day after surgery. The stretching exercise can be done when lying in bed, sitting or standing up. Stretching is important as it prevents the groin from tighening up again and prevents the inguinal ligament from re-attaching by healing or scarring during the weeks following surgery. The simple exercises would include bending the knee, bringing the foot up towards to groin and pushing the knee outwards as far as it can go without causing undue pain. Similarly, front lunges and side lunges are important to stretch the groin area which includes the adductor muscle group. It is recommended that 2 - 3 minutes of stretching are done 2 - 3 times a day up to the pain threshold.

Compression

It is very important that light pressure is placed over the operated groin for at least two weeks after the operation. Most patients wear cycling shorts or similar compression-type shorts to prevent swelling in the groin area. If the shorts do not give compression in the crease of the groin additional pressure can be given with a small rolled-up bandage or even a pair of socks placed underneath the shorts or boxer shorts. Compression should continue for at least 2 weeks DAY and NIGHT, and only released when having a shower or bathing. If a small lump or swelling does appear it may be painful and delay recovery by several weeks. The swelling will be caused by a little fluid build up and is nothing to worry about.

Anti-inflammatories

It is recommended that in addition to basic analgesic medication (paracetamol, co-codamol etc.) that antiflammatories are taken for 7 - 10 days after surgery. (Note: some patients are allergic to some of these drugs and should therefore check with their doctor before starting these drugs. Also these drugs may precipitate asthma so should be avoided in asthmatics.) Useful drugs would include brufen (ibuprofen) or diclofenac (voltarol).

Returning to Physical Activites

Generally it will take 4 - 6 weeks for the symptoms to improve. Top athletes may be fortunate and return to their sport within 2 - 3 weeks. The groin area will be sore for the first week and physical activity will be restricted to stretching, walking and light and gentle exercise only. Post-operative pain will restrict many athletes during the first 7 - 10 days post op. During the second week athletes should consider going to the gym and ride a bike, go swimming in a pool and start jogging. It is unlikely that exertion will cause any problems with the operation so all activity should be encouraged providing it does not cause pain.

Although during the third week post-op there may well be some residual pain, athletes should try and increase their all round physical activity in addition to continue performing stretching exercises. At this point many players can resume light training of their sport. Most patients are significantly better at 4 - 6 weeks post - op but may continue to have some niggling pain and discomfort. Providing the pain does not become worse they should continue to return to their sport. Rarely, if athletes continue with painful symptoms additional injections of local anaesthetic and steroids/cortisone may be  required.