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Abdominal wall injuries: Rectus abdominis strains, oblique strains, rectus sheath hematoma

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Current Sports Medicine Reports


Abdominal wall injuries are reported to be less common than actually perceived by sports medicine practitioners. National Collegiate Athletic Association injury statistics for 2004–2005 cite a high of 0.71 abdominal muscle injuries per 1000 player-hours in wrestling competition to a low of 0.01 injuries per 1000 player-hours in autumn football practices. British professional soccer clubs reported an incidence of "torso" injuries of up to 7% of all injuries over the course of several seasons. Injury definition is most likely the explanation for this discrepancy. The abdominal wall muscles (rectus abdominis, external and internal obliques, and transverse abdominis) are injured by direct blows to the abdomen or by sudden or repetitive trunk movement, either rotation or flexion/ extension. With the exception of the rare rectus sheath hematoma that does not self-tamponade, the treatment for these problems is nonoperative with symptoms guiding rehabilitation and return to play decisions.

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Correspondence to Rob Johnson MD.

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Johnson, R. Abdominal wall injuries: Rectus abdominis strains, oblique strains, rectus sheath hematoma. Curr Sports Med Rep 5, 99–103 (2006).

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