Patients with an inguinal hernia often wonder if it’s safe for them to walk for exercise or their daily activities. While high-impact and strenuous exercise can exacerbate the hernia, walking at a gentle pace is generally fine and even encouraged. In this article, I’ll discuss how to walk safely with an inguinal hernia and tips to avoid aggravating symptoms.
Benefits of Walking with an Inguinal Hernia
For patients managing an inguinal hernia non-operatively, regular gentle walking offers many benefits without major risks. Walking improves cardiovascular health and prevents deconditioning of the muscles. The rhythmic movement may also help divert awareness away from the hernia discomfort. Starting a walking regimen can give a sense of control and progress.
Precautions for Safe Walking
The keys to walking safely with a hernia are going slow, monitoring discomfort, and avoiding sudden movements or straining. Take relaxed strolls around the neighborhood or park. Warm up gradually and avoid brisk power walking or race walking. Wear comfortable clothes and supportive underwear. Stop immediately if you feel any sharp pains.
Avoid Inclines and Uneven Terrain
Steep hills, long flights of stairs, and highly uneven or rocky ground can exacerbate an inguinal hernia. The varied terrain challenges your balance and leads to more abdominal tension and groin strain. Stick to flat, smooth, and gentle slopes. Step cautiously and pause for breaks as needed.
Use Proper Posture and Technique
Walk tall with your chin up and shoulders relaxed. Engage your core muscles gently and keep the shoulders down and back. Minimize any forward lean from the hips. Take shorter, quicker steps rather than overly long strides. Swing the arms naturally but not forcefully.
Try a Hernia Belt for Support
Wearing a flexible hernia belt or truss provides compression and support to the groin. This can alleviate discomfort during walking. Ensure the fit is snug but not overly tight. Remove any painful belt immediately. Some find relief icing after walks.
Avoid Carrying Items
Carrying hand weights, a backpack, or anything that adds extra weight can make walking with an inguinal hernia more problematic. The pulled-down force and swinging shift the weight’s momentum in an uncontrolled manner. Keep your hands free or use a rolling cart.
Summary of Safe Walking Tips:
– Go slow with a relaxed, easy pace
– Monitor for pain and stop if sharp/severe
– Avoid hills, stairs, and uneven terrain
– Use proper posture and movement technique
– Consider wearing a hernia support belt
– Refrain from carrying anything heavy
Let me know if you have any problems walking comfortably with your hernia. Appropriately modified, walking offers benefits without excessively stressing the abdominal wall. But ultimately, surgical repair provides the most lasting solution.
Dr. Rajarshi Mitra is a patient-centered, highly-rated Specialist Laparoscopic Surgeon & Proctologist in Abu Dhabi, offering Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery, Minimally Invasive Proctology & Lasers in Proctology. He is MBBS; MS (Surgery); FIAGES; FICS (USA); Dip. Lap (France); and Dip. Hernia (APHS) with 18 years of extensive experience in Laparoscopic Surgery, Minimally Invasive Proctology and Fellowship training in Colorectal and Bariatric Surgery.