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Injuries and Medical Advice

Abdomen: Muscle Tear/Hernia

Further investigation needed for climbing-precluding ab injury.

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Four months ago I severely injured my abdomen training for climbing while doing side-to-side crunches on an inclined board. At first I was certain I had a hernia. The pain is centered one inch below and left of my belly button. My symptoms were swelling, bruising, severe pain from belly button to very low… and a bulge that stuck out of my stomach. After many doctor’s appointments where various hernia diagnoses were ruled out, I was told that I tore the rectus abdominal muscle. A year on and tying my shoes still feels like a V12. My surgeon told me that surgical repair is not an option and that even with PT I probably won’t be able to climb again. Climbing has always been the spiritual and grounding force in my life and I am very discouraged.

 mkruzic | Forum

Backflips, they seemed easy enough. I had practiced a few times on a beach in New Zealand where my partner and I had taken up residence for some world-class hanging out. On that fateful day my hottie and I were at a local ski area riding the natural half pipes. Too much snow for bouldering. Like the edge of a cliff, the precipice of a half pipe has a certain magnetism.

Nerves fired, hormones surged and my maleness amplifier roared like one of those teenage vampires in heat. Rationality rode away with the snowflakes. Toes on the icy edge, eyes wide and canines bared, I cranked it over. Apparently doing it in shorts on a beach is quite different than hauling all that regalia in pow-pow. Perhaps I should have sucked someone’s blood first.

In the weeks that followed, my abs hurt so much I could not even lift my head off the pillow. Luckily my girlfriend was pregnant already. Luca is now 4 and my abs, though a bit more hairy, are like kryptonite molded into balls of contractile flab. Read: quite normal.

I draw the line at such irreverent advice as telling patients that they’ll never climb again. People climb without legs, uno! One of my friends is bald, no less! He also has one eye, is pushing 60 and crushes like a steamroller. At least you can rehabilitate your abs. His hair is gone forever.

There is something not quite right with the level of investigation and the inoperable tag. By the sound of it you have not had an ultrasound or MRI, which are really the only two investigations worth acquiring for an abdominal tear. I may be going out on a limb here, since I am not an abdominal surgeon, but get another opinion from a more sportingly inclined physician, or at least someone willing to give you some more time and explanation.

You haven’t detailed your rehab program or what the PT has been doing so I can’t say too much about that. I have not seen a tear that could not be corrected with some finicky needlecraft and tailored rehab. Give me some more details on the forum and I am happy to direct you as best as 10,000 miles away will allow.