Can You Run With A Hernia?

Can You Run With A Hernia? A Complete Guide to Sports Hernia

Most people have experienced a hernia once in their life whether it be from lifting a heavy object or poor nutrition. Either way, a hernia is not fun and can often be painful. However, if you are a seasoned runner you may be wondering if you can still run with a hernia.

Unfortunately, it depends on the severity of the hernia and the type of hernia you are dealing with. In this article, we answer a few questions to put your mind at ease:

– What is a hernia?
– What causes a hernia
– Can you run with a hernia?

While there are many types of hernias, in this article we focus on an inguinal hernia, which is the most common problem that occurs. So, keep reading to find out more!

What Is A Hernia?

A hernia develops when an organ or fatty tissue pushes between a vulnerable spot in the muscle or connective tissue. There are different types of hernias, but the most common are:

Inner Groin – Called Inguinal
Outer Groin – Called femoral
Upper Stomach – Called Hiatal
Bell Button – Called Umbilical
Incisional – Caused by an incision

Inguinal Hernia – An Inguinal hernia is called by the intestines of the bladder protruding through the abdominal wall. More than 95% of groin hernias are inguinal and typically occur in Men, as they are naturally weaker in this area.

Incisional Hernia – An incisional hernia happens when the intestines push through the abdominal wall. This usually happens at the site of the previous abdominal surgery

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Femoral Hernia – A femoral hernia is most common in women and women that are pregnant or obese. It is when the intestines enter the canal while carrying the femoral artery into the upper thigh.

Umbilical Hernia – An umbilical hernia is most common in new-born’s. However, it is common among obese women and women that have had numerous children. In this type of hernia, the small intestines pass through the abdominal wall next to the navel.

What Causes A Hernia?

What Causes A Hernia?

Most hernias are caused by a combination of things. Typically these include pressure and weakness of the muscle or fascia. The pressure ends up pushing the organ or the tissue through the weak spot. Unfortunately, anything that increases the pressure within the abdomen can end up causing a hernia. Some of these things include:

– Lifting heavy objects
– Constant coughing and sneezing
– Diarrhea
– Constipation
– Obesity
– Poor nutrition
– Smoking

All of the above can cause a weakness in the muscles, which can cause a hernia to develop.


Can You Run With A Hernia?

Since we know a hernia occurs when tissue or an organ pushes through the wall of a cavity, it can be painful. That means the recovery period can be anywhere from 1-4 weeks. That means during the early stages of a hernia you may need to rest completely from running.

However, this will depend on the hernia’s intensity and whether you might need surgery or not. Luckily if you don’t require surgery you should be able to return to running after two to three weeks.

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After two weeks as long as the bulge doesn’t cause pain or isn’t inflamed anymore, there is less risk to start running again. However, it is important to still take it easy and build up the running slowly.

It is important to know during this time that if the hernia strangulates (blood flow tissue gets compromised), it can become an emergency. This is due to bloating of the bowel which can cause vomiting and obstruction of the bowel, which can often cause the person to become ill and require medical help.

Running With A Hernia – What You Should Know

A sports or inguinal hernia can often cause severe pain. So, if you are thinking about running with a hernia, there are some things you need to know.

First, it is important to allow adequate rest. Pain will generally reside with enough rest. However, if you return to sports or running too quickly, the twisting movements can increase the pain levels dramatically. Making running or other sports unbearable.

It is important during the recovery period that running is kept to a minimum and the intensity kept low. It is also important to stay away from:

– Heavy exertion exercises such as lifting weights
– Stretching your abdominal wall too much
– Core exercises such as sit-ups and crunches.

Although it is possible to safely run with a hernia after 2-3 weeks, there is a large risk you can worsen the hernia. To be safe it is recommended you visit a hernia doctor first before returning to exercise. They will be able to assess the severity of your hernia, and help give you an eta on returning to running safely.

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Just remember, a hernia is not that different from an injury. It is important to reduce your intensity and training load post recovery and slowly build it up over a period of weeks. Doing so will prevent the hernia from worsening or returning and putting you out of running for even longer.


Can You Run With a Small Hernia?

If the hernia is small there is a chance you can run without causing too many problems. However, it is not widely recommended as it can cause the hernia to strangulate.

So if you are dealing with an inguinal hernia it is wise to give the hernia time to fully recover and seek medical advice before jumping back into your running training.

In the meantime replace your running with some low-intensity exercise that can help hold your fitness. Just make sure it doesn’t place any stress on the hernia.

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