Running With A Hernia And The Tips To Deal With It

Having a hernia can significantly interfere with your exercise plan, even when it is not causing any pain. Before carrying on with running with a hernia, get an opinion from your physician. The potential risks of the exercise are much greater than the advantages you are receiving from it.

It is possible to potentially jog with a hernia, but it would depend on the level of your hernia and how strenuous your exercise is. It is advised to talk to your medical professional before engaging in physical activity if you suffer from a hernia to avoid any serious risks.


If you think you may have a hernia, go to the doctor and get it checked out. Hernias are brought about by the intestines protruding through a vulnerable spot in the abdomen, usually close to the waist or the groin in the lower abdomen.

Sometimes, these injuries aren’t too serious. You could see a lump only when doing activities that put pressure on your stomach – coughing, jumping, or getting up from a sitting position. If the hernia is not causing any discomfort, your physician may simply keep an eye on it.

If you can jog without any distress, you could potentially keep performing this exercise, assuming your physician has green-lighted it. The severity of one’s workouts matters greatly – over-exerting oneself physically can make a hernia condition even worse.

Hernias often need surgical repair. Failing to fix a hernia can cause strangulation, which occurs when the intestines become stuck and reduces the amount of blood travelling to that area. This can be a life-threatening situation.

According to Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of a strangulated hernia can include:

  • sudden, rapidly increasing pain
  • fever
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • trapped gas
  • constipation
  • skin darkening (red or purple)

Exercise and Running with Hernia

All types of physical activities that require strain on your stomach muscles can make a hernia worse. At first look, it may be tough to understand how running relates to strengthening the abdominals. However, these muscles play an important role in running.

A PLOS One study of 28 individuals conducted in March 2018 analyzed the influence of 12 weeks of Pilates-based core conditioning on 5K race results.

Research indicated that the abdominal muscles, especially the obliques, became active while running. As well, core muscle strength heightened as the running speed progressed.

Jogging can lead to a tightening of abdominal muscles, so running with a hernia could very likely make the condition worse.

Working out can be advantageous in the management of a hernia, especially if it is minor. A paper showing the healing process of an injury from a pro hockey gamer was released in February 2012 by the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. The athlete had become hurt due to an incident that occurred during a match. Treatment occurred in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Pain management and introductory core stabilization exercises
  • Phase 2: Progressive stabilization and strengthening exercises
  • Phase 3: Functional training and return to the game

Consider Conservative Treatment

Your doctor may decide that treating your hernia does not require an operation, so look into getting physical therapy for it.

A physical therapist can devise a personalized workout plan to fortify your abdominal area to help ward off your afflictions from getting worse. Workouts are designed to target core muscles while avoiding any strain on the injured abdominal muscles.

At, they advise that core strengthening to treat a hernia starts with gaining knowledge on how to contract the transverse abdominis, which is an abdominal muscle that provides assistance to your lower back and organs inside your body.

Once the abdominal draw-in has been effectively learned, integrate it into the other core strengthening exercises outlined by Princeton University Athletics. Do each exercise 10 times, increasing to three consecutive sets. Stop immediately if you have pain.

Move 1: Abdominal Draw-In

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor.
  2. Put your hand on your hip bones, spreading your fingers over the muscles on each side of your lower abdomen.
  3. Tighten your abs as if you are “drawing in” your belly button to bring it closer to your spine. Breathe throughout this movement.
  4. Hold for two to three seconds, then relax.

Move 2: Knee to Chest

  1. Perform an abdominal draw-in.
  2. Slowly lift one foot off the ground, bringing your knee in toward your chest.
  3. Lower back down and repeat on the opposite side.

Move 3: Heel Slide

  1. Perform an abdominal draw-in.
  2. Slide your right heel along the ground, straightening your knee.
  3. Slowly slide your heel back up toward your buttock.
  4. Repeat on the opposite side.

Move 4: Double Knee to Chest

  1. Perform an abdominal draw-in.
  2. Lift both feet off the ground at the same time.
  3. Bring your knees in toward your chest, keeping your low back pressed against the ground.
  4. Slowly lower back down.

Move 5: Bridge on Ball

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  2. Place your feet on a firm medicine ball.
  3. Perform an abdominal draw-in and maintain this throughout the exercise.
  4. Push down through your feet and lift your hips off the ground, no higher than three inches.
  5. Hold for two to three seconds, then lower back down.

If you can feel your hips swaying from side to side or find yourself unsteady on your feet, it means your hips are too high when you are lifting.

Exercise After Hernia Surgery

You will likely require an operation if you have a hernia, especially if you want to remain active. The National Institutes of Health state that in the United States, there are 800,000 hernia repairs completed annually, making them one of the most typical types of operations.

A physician or PT (Physical Therapist) usually directs a particular course of action one must take after undergoing a hernia procedure. This protocol is related to physical activity. It normally takes an athlete 12 weeks to completely recover from a core muscle injury, after which they can resume their sports or exercise activities.

Listen to your doctor’s advice post-hernia repair to fend off any issues. Exercises, such as the ones below, are typically progressed every two to four weeks after hernia repair, as described by Massachusetts General Hospital Orthopaedics:

Post-Op Phase (0-2 weeks):

  • walking for 15 minutes, twice per day
  • gentle lower extremity stretches

Intermediate Phase (2-4 weeks):

  • walking for 30 continuous minutes, once per day
  • stationary biking for 15 minutes, progressing to 30 minutes
  • swimming at a leisurely pace (after incisions are healed)
  • gentle core strengthening begins (abdominal draw-in and progressions)
  • step-ups
  • ball squats
  • balance training (ball toss on an uneven surface)

Strengthening Phase (weeks 4 to 8):

  • stationary biking (progress resistance and time)
  • elliptical training
  • swimming at higher intensities
  • walk/jog program with progression to jogging (at 6 weeks)
  • progressive core and lower extremity strengthening

Advanced Strengthening and Agility Training (weeks 8 to 10):

  • interval training with cardio equipment
  • progress from jogging to running (avoid the starts/stops)
  • lateral shuffles
  • jumping activities
  • agility ladder

Return to Sports Activities (weeks 10-12):

  • sports-specific drills
  • running while incorporating starts/stops and changes in direction
  • sprinting

Getting Hernia From Running

Hernias can often result from straining the weakened abdominal muscles and the abdominal wall by using them excessively.

There can be a lack of strength in the abdominal wall that can be identified by openings, hows, or interruptions of the muscle, fascia, and other structures that protect the abdomen and the intestines inside it.

Consequently, due to a higher intra-abdominal pressure, particularly when one is exerting himself, certain tissues in the abdominal cavity may push out through any weak points in the abdominal wall, forming a hernia.

Jogging may possibly lead to hernias, as typically they happen while straining or otherwise raising the tension in the abdominal area.

When you exert yourself during exercise, intra-abdominal pressure increases. This can give enough strength to thrust the bowels through a break in the stomach wall.

Although hernias are usually seen when lifting weights and using the Valsalva manoeuvre (exhaling and holding your breath when pushing), it is also possible to get one from running.

Jogging can also make a particular sort of hernia known as a sports hernia happen. Rather than a fault in the abdominal wall, sports hernias are actually caused by an injury or tearing of the abdominal muscles due to a sudden or jerky twist or turning motion.

Athletes who make drastic directional changes while sprinting may be at risk of contracting a sports hernia. These types of hernias are typically found in the area of the groin, such as inguinal or femoral hernias.

Running With A Hernia

The majority of medical personnel and healthcare providers advise against running when you have an inguinal hernia.

The length of time required to heal from an inguinal hernia can vary from 1 to 4 weeks depending on the severity of the injury, the necessity for surgery, and the method used (whether it be open or laparoscopic).

If you do not need surgery for a minor hernia, it may be possible to begin engaging in light workouts again in 1-2 weeks. After an additional 2 weeks, running could potentially be resumed.

In most cases, treating a hernia of mild severity starts with RICE: Resting, putting Ice on, applying Compression, and positioning the body part higher than normal (Elevation). Sad to say, this typically requires taking a break from running for 7-10 days while making use of the other parts of the RICE procedure.

After this period of recuperation, you will usually be assessed for surgery. In many situations, surgery is necessary if the initial recovery period does not result in a decrease in the size and inflammation of the hernia.

Nowadays, laparoscopic procedures are utilized instead of open surgeries for the majority of hernia operations.

By making a laparoscopic cut, you can come back to walking and light physical activity after just seven days and simple jogging after two weeks, resulting in a much faster recovery.

Open abdominal hernia operations are more involved. It is advised that you avoid running for roughly a month after your operation so that the sutures can heal correctly without increasing the pressure in the abdominal area.

Stop Running With A Hernia

Can you go for a jog with a hernia if you haven’t undergone hernia surgery yet?

Some doctors may not suggest that you have to cease running with a hernia. The level of pain you are experiencing, the area of the hernia as well as overall health all factor into whether or not surgery is indicated.

If you are not experiencing any discomfort, it is possible to go running while having a hernia. Despite this, running itself puts additional strain on the inside of the stomach which may make the hernia protrude even further.

When you jog, the hernia can increase in size, resulting in pressure being applied to other abdominal organs, such as the intestines.

Not only may the urge to go to the bathroom interfere with running, but it can also limit the circulation of blood, leading to health problems such as the danger of getting an infection and tissue death.

This can result in the development of a condition known as a strangulated hernia, which is an urgent condition that necessitates immediate surgery.

Tips For Running With A Hernia Or After Hernia Surgery

Here are some suggestions to help you get back to running quickly after a hernia surgery, as well as aiding in running safely even without the operation.

1. Respect Your Recovery

Take your rest seriously. Do not go for any runs soon after the hernia or surgery has occurred to give your body and all its tissues the chance to recover.

If you start running too soon, you will experience a delay in completing your healing process, and it won’t do much to increase your fitness level.

Once your medical provider allows you to start light physical activity, you should be able to do low-impact activities like taking a stroll or cycling indoors.

When compared to jogging, these activities create less jostling and build-up of pressure in the stomach area.

2. Limit Exertion

Try not to do too much physical exertion while recovering from a hernia.

Request assistance in lifting or pushing any item, and endeavour to avoid standing up whenever possible. Steer clear of anything that causes you to cough, like being around someone smoking or allergens.

3. Be Mindful Of the Diet

Getting advice on managing a hernia after an operation can help make the process easier and can allow you to return to running sooner.

It might be possible to reduce inflammation by consuming foods that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, for example, produce that is high in antioxidants, salmon and other fatty fish, and nuts and seeds with a high content of omega-3 fatty acids.

In addition to being equally essential, it is important to stay away from fiery food items such as sugar, alcohol, red meat, excessive sodium, hydrogenated oils, and trans fats. Curb your intake of fast food and red meat, as these types of food, can cause constipation, leading to excessive strain during bowel movements.

This will make it easier to go to the bathroom without straining and without increasing intra-abdominal pressure. Engaging in this action can worsen a hernia or interfere with the healing process after hernia surgery.

4. Run On Soft Surfaces

When you start running again following either surgical repair or natural healing of a hernia, it would be advantageous to pick surfaces which are softer like turf or a dirt path rather than a hard concrete sidewalk.

The softer ground will reduce the shock on your body, safeguarding the hernia spot from any unexpected jerks.

5. Wear Compression Gear

Depending on where your hernia is located, you can wear supportive undergarments (such as compression shorts or a compression top) to give some extra reinforcement to the abdominal wall nearby the hernia, which has been weakened.

Be careful not to have running clothing that’s too snug, but many runners find that mild compression is beneficial when running with a hernia.

6. Pay Attention to Your Body

You must stay in tune with your body’s signals if you are exercising with a hernia, watching out for any indications of strangulation. The indication of a strangulated hernia is a constant, sore pain in the belly, crotch, or thigh. The pain may radiate.

Another hallmark sign is weakness. If you are jogging with a hernia and notice that your gait unexpectedly appears to be less energetic and secure, or you feel any form of frailty in your groin or thigh, you ought to cease running right away and look for a medical professional.

Finally, feeling bloated and having the urge to vomit could suggest a blocked bowel.

Consult with your healthcare provider to obtain personalized advice, especially if you have any worries about resuming running after hernia surgery or running despite having a hernia.

The great thing is that with current hernia operation treatments, the duration of recovery has diminished, so if you do require an operation, you should be able to start going for a jog again within a couple of weeks.


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