Sports Hernia Compression Shorts vs. Braces vs. Belts vs. Wraps

Last Update: 11 August 2021

Knowing whether to pick sports hernia compression shorts over a sports hernia brace, belt, or wrap can be a difficult decision—until you know your options.

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    If you have received a confirmed sports hernia diagnosis, hopefully you have already begun to complete the exercises and stretches as well as the full sports hernia treatment plan.

    However, you are likely looking for additional support to not only relieve pain and pressure, but promote healing and encourage the recovery process. Sports hernia shorts, braces, wraps, and belts provide stability and compression to the inguinal ligament area (the true sports hernia pain location).

    By wrapping the injured and tender area, you can decrease swelling which will provide instant pain relief as well as allow you to more easily perform the rehabilitation program.

    They also enhance proprioception.

    Proprioception is your ability to understand where your body is positioned at any given time while performing a movement or exercise—from walking to lifting weights. With increased awareness of how your body is moving, you can avoid painful ranges of motion and perform rehabilitation exercises and stretches while receiving increased “feedback” of how your form is.

    Sports hernia treatment and recovery without surgery is possible and has been documented in case reports published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. The therapists involved in the report had the athlete perform exercises in water during the phase which focuses on pain management and beginning treatment.

    In the same way, compression shorts, belts, braces, and wraps can help to provide this same compression but without the pool of water—so you can then complete the necessary rehab exercises, stretches, and mobility movements that actually heal you.

    The physical therapy devices come in varying levels of support and should be used for different reasons to meet your needs at any given specific time.

    Sports Hernia Belt: One Side

    sports hernia belt worn on one side of the inguinal ligament

    A sports hernia belt provides support with the use of a single strap that runs down your groin along the inguinal ligament. It is attached by an adjustable belt that you can place around your waist, hastening your recovery rate following the initial injury or surgery.

    Sports Hernia Belt: Both Sides

    Some sports hernia belts come with two groin straps if you have developed a double sports hernia or are experiencing pain on both sides of your body.

    Sports Hernia Brace

    sports hernia brace worn by a male with athletic pubalgia

    A sports hernia brace is much more supportive than the belt alone. It works by providing complete compression to the entire groin and pubic area. It also runs along the top of your thigh to help promote blood flow to the region.

    Sports Hernia Compression Shorts

    black sports hernia compression shorts worn by female to decrease pain levels

    If you are looking for support and pain relief while you complete rehab or need something you can wear during a sports game or gym session, sports hernia compression shorts are your go-to.

    Unlike the belt and brace, it is made to be flexible enough to allow movement—while still providing stabilization and support to the area. It is also more lightweight and can be easily worn under thin gym clothing. Lastly, its design ensures that it doesn’t slip or ride up during physical activity.

    Sports Hernia Wrap

    sports hernia wrap designed to go around the upper thigh

    If you need the absolute most mobility possible and still require support and pain relief, your best bet is a sports hernia wrap. Unlike compression shorts, a wrap is placed around the top of your thigh only. This is option of choice for runners, cyclists, and other athletes who need the full use of their hips and legs.

    About the Author

    Jon Chambers

    Jon Chambers is an Army veteran, powerlifter, strength coach, sports hernia expert, and writer involved in the strength training community for almost a decade on a mission to create the best strength and fitness guides on the web.