Surgical Repair of Sports Hernias on the NHS?

Sports Hernia/ Gilmore’s Groin
Help please!
Anyone ever suffered with one of these?
Anyone ever managed to get it treated by surgery on the NHS?
I’ve probably had this hernia for a number of years but severely aggravated it early in August this year on a longish run. Frustratingly it’s never settled down despite lots of core strength work and 8 weeks of no running. Out of sheer desperation I’ve recently tried to get back into running but there’s a constant nagging pain even at a slow jogging pace. Currently going down the NHS route and after an initial surgical assessment I’m now waiting for an ultrasound scan. This probably won’t happen until December but my suspicion is that even if the hernia is confirmed it won’t be a condition considered severe enough to surgically repair on the NHS.
So I think I need to resign myself to self-funded private treatment if I want to get back to some proper running!
Anyone able to recommend a surgeon/clinic and whether to opt for a mesh or stitch repair?
Based in West Yorkshire but prepared to travel.
Most recent casualty in my race calendar is Snowdonia Marathon on Saturday! Although looking at the weather forecast for Saturday maybe it’s not such a bad thing.


  • Have you looked into getting health insurance that covers sports injuries. I don't think the private method would allow you to be seen much faster and the treatment is the same. I'm not an expert, but if it was me, I would get health insurance now, and continue the NHS route, and then if they decide that there isn't any treatment available on the NHS, lay it on thick and say you are in a lot of pain from it and it affects every day life. In my opinion, its unlikely that there won't be any treatment, but cross the bridge when you get to the stage of refused treatment, and its at that stage where I would look at a private hospital (and claim on the health insurance). But thats just me, I'm not a healthcare professional.
  • I think I’d be very lucky to find private health insurance that would cover treatment for a pre existing condition. Always worth considering though for any new injury waiting to happen in the future! Since posting I’ve persisted with running (averaging 25 miles per week and slowly increasing the pace) with no increase in pain - yet!
    I’m still waiting for a date for the ultrasound scan so I’m hoping to continue running, but avoiding racing, whilst waiting. Hopefully the scan will help me decide how advantageous surgery could be. Thanks for taking the time to comment Zed100. I’ll update here once I’ve had the scan.
  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    The advantages of going private might tip the balance. One: they include physio, which is usually on a back to where you were basis, rather than can you walk. Two: you can decide exactly when you want the surgery. It costs but actually if you look at the cost of insurance you might be better off self insuring and have a fund you pay into in a bank, if you don't use it for health care you can use it for races abroad!
  • Yes TT I’ve used that strategy for pet insurance. Luckily our pets have been healthy throughout their lives - mongrel vigour maybe! I’m currently on a mountain walking holiday and the groin pain has been nagging away constantly and I’m always fearful of a slip or stumble that will aggravate the ‘hernia’. I’m very tempted to go down the self funded private treatment route so I can get back to running properly by early spring to give me an outside chance of using my VLM entry!
  • GipfelGipfel ✭✭✭
    My partner had two open mesh hernia repairs on the NHS a few years ago - he had a hernia on each side, which meant two ops within a couple of months (they didn't want to do a double repair in one op). The procedure happened to take place in a private hospital, which was quite nice. From what you have said about your pain, it sounds similar to what he was experiencing from the worst of the two - the other one was not as severe (although he'd had it for years), but they still seemed happy enough to operate, and there was no reluctance at all to put him forward for the procedure. As I understand it, this is very common (I know at least three other people from my running club who have had it), and as long as the ultrasound confirms that there is a hernia there, I'd be surprised if they refused to do the op entirely - although as Zed100 says, it will be worth making sure you emphasise the pain you're in and the effect it's having on daily life, etc. I know when my partner's first and less painful hernia was originally diagnosed, they advised that it probably wasn't worth having surgery at that point, but that was because it was barely causing him any problems - and in fact they were probably right because it took several years for it to start playing up enough to worry about. I think though that even at that point, they'd have agreed to surgery if he'd really insisted on it. 

    Agree with TT about the better physio you might get if you went privately - I was quite surprised at the lack of pretty much anything provided to my partner after the ops themselves!  I guess the waiting time would also be worth considering - my partner didn't actually have to wait long at all for his ops, but I'm sure this could vary wildly.

    I don't know much about types of repair other than open mesh surgery, but this generally seems to be a fairly straightforward procedure with a few weeks of recovery time needed - if you do go down this route, just be very careful in the first day or two not to do anything that might aggravate/tear it, even if you're dosed up on painkillers and it therefore feels ok! After that, light exercise (walking and so on) is encouraged, from what I remember. I know someone who was back doing a bit of cycling within 2 weeks of his op and doing some light running a couple of weeks after that, which is probably on the quick side for recovery, but encouraging nonetheless. My partner took a bit longer to get fully back into things but is doing more running now than ever before. Good luck with it all!
  • Many thanks Gipfel for your response which I hadn’t noticed until now. So really sorry not to have reported back on my post until now. The ultrasound eventually happened but didn’t pick up on anything resembling a hernia. Accordingly discharged. In the meantime my running became increasingly pain free and I managed to get through the cross country season (albeit slowly at the back of the fields) without exacerbating the ‘injury’. Was able to turn in a not too shabby time for my Virtual London Marathon back in April! No groin pain since but it hasn’t been tested under race conditions yet! Even so feeling positive!
    Let’s hope we all get through Covid safely and get back to some racing soon. Not that I’m holding out too much hope for the rescheduled VLM!
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