Exercises for a Strained Iliofemoral Ligament

Patient at the physiotherapy doing physical therapy
A man is learning leg physical therapy exercises. (Image: kzenon/iStock/Getty Images)

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint and the primary weight-bearing joint in the body. It includes the pelvis and femur and several ligaments that help stabilize the joint. The Iliofemoral ligament connects the pelvis to the femur, and covers the hip joint anteriorly, providing support during hip extension and supporting the weight of the body. This ligament can be partially or fully torn from a direct blow to the hip or overuse injury. Rehabilitation should include gentle stretching and strengthening exercises that promote range of motion and pelvic stability. Speak with your physician before starting an exercise program.

Lying Hip Extension

Performing a hip extension while lying down engages your iliofemoral ligament and promotes the circulation of blood to the strained ligament, strengthening it and promoting pelvic and hip stability. Lie face down on a firm surface with both legs extended. Rest your forehead on your arms crossed over your head, contract your thigh and gluteal muscles and lift your right leg as far as possible off the floor. As you extend your leg, ensure your knee remains straight and your hips remain in contact with the floor. At the top of this extension, hold for two seconds and slowly return your leg to the starting position. Perform one set of 10 repetitions twice daily on both legs.

Standing Hip Extension

The iliofemoral ligament is required to prevent hyperextension of the hip. A standing hip extension engages the damaged iliofemoral ligament and strengthens it. Stand upright 12 to 18 inches from a chair with your feet slightly apart and hold onto the back of the chair with one hand. Bend forward at your hip to a 45-degree angle, and slowly lift your right leg backward, remembering to keep your knee straight and toes pointed. Lift your leg five inches off the floor and hold this position for one second. Slowly return your leg to the starting position and perform one set of 10 repetitions on both legs, twice daily.

Hip Extension on All Fours

Position yourself on your knees and hands. Lift your right leg off the floor, remembering to keep your right knee bent as your extend your hip. Continue this hip extension so your right thigh becomes level with your back and your foot is above head level. At the top, hold for two seconds and slowly return your leg to the starting position. Perform one set of 10 repetitions, twice daily on both legs.

Cable Standing Hip Extension

This exercise strengthens the iliofemoral ligament and prevents future injury. Stand in front in a low pulley machine. Attach an ankle cuff to the machine and your right ankle. Hold onto the machine with both hands and step back with your left foot. Straighten your back and pull the cable attachment back by extending your hip, keeping your knee straight. Perform one set of 10 repetitions, once daily on both legs.

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