Rehabilitation Strategies for 3 Common Hip Injuries in Soccer

Understand 3 common hip injuries in soccer and how to successfully overcome them.
Written by
Maddie Gill
Published on
Jan 30, 2024

Rehabilitation Strategies for 3 Common Hip Injuries in Soccer: A Strength & Conditioning Approach

Soccer players often face a myriad of injuries, with hip flexor strains, labral tears, and iliotibial (IT) band syndrome being among the most prevalent. These three injuries can significantly impact a player's performance and longevity in the sport. This article will discuss effective rehabilitation strategies for these three common hip injuries in soccer, emphasizing strength and conditioning physical therapy principles.

Understanding 3 Common Hip Injuries in Soccer:

Before diving into the rehabilitation strategies, it is essential to understand the nature of hip flexor strains, labral tears, and IT band syndrome and the challenges they pose to soccer players.

1. Hip Flexor Strains

Hip flexor strains are commonly caused by repetitive kicking, sprinting, and sudden changes in direction. Typical symptoms include pain and discomfort in the front of the hip, often associated with walking or running. Risk factors include overuse, inadequate warm-up, and poor biomechanics.

Hip Flexor Strain Information

2. Labral Tears

Labral tears are commonly caused by trauma or repetitive movements leading to damage to the hip labrum, the cartilage that surrounds the outside rim of the hip joint socket. Symptoms typically include hip pain, limited range of motion, and clicking or catching sensations. Risk factors in soccer include dynamic movements, sudden stops, and powerful kicks.

Labral Tear Information

3. IT Band Syndrome

IT Band Syndrome is commonly caused by repetitive flexion and extension of the hip and knee, leading to inflammation and tightness of the iliotibial band. Typical symptoms include pain on the outside of the knee or hip during activity. Risk factors in soccer include repetitive movements with running and kicking.

IT Band Syndrome Information

Rehabilitation Strategies:

1. Hip Flexor Strain Rehabilitation

To address hip flexor strains, incorporating flexibility and dynamic stretching into warm-ups is beneficial. These routines can include specific hip flexor stretches like lunges and leg swings.

Another important component of a hip flexor strain rehab program should include progressive strength training. Specific interventions may include eccentric exercises for controlled lengthening, as well as strengthening of hip flexors through leg raises and resistance training.

Finally, blood flow restriction therapy (BFRT) can be a helpful tool to promote greater strength gains with low-load resistance exercises for the hip flexors. BFR training can enhance muscle activation and promote hypertrophy with reduced stress on injured tissues. Learn more about BFR training here.

2. Labral Tear Rehabilitation

For labral tears, a key aspect of the rehab program is progressive resistance training. A gradual increase in resistance with hip-specific interventions should be incorporated, targeting hip extensors, flexors, abductors, adductors, internal rotators, and external rotators, with progressive overload being a significant feature of the program. Additionally, there should be an emphasis on hip stability and proper biomechanics.

Proprioception and balance training should also be incorporated when recovering from a labral tear. Improving single-leg balance on unstable surfaces can be effective for enhancing neuromuscular control.

BFR training is also useful for rehabilitation with labral tears. This may be utilized in combination with a progressive resistance training program to target musculature surrounding the hip while addressing pain modulation. BFR helps to facilitate muscle strengthening with lower loads to minimize strain on the labrum.

3. IT Band Syndrome Rehabiliation

A critical aspect of rehabilitating IT band syndrome is progressive strength training. A typical program may target the strength and stability of lateral hip musculature, specifically the hip abductors, and incorporate exercises involving hip and knee flexion and extension.

Another component of the rehab program is mobility and flexibility work. Including interventions targeting hip abductor flexibility is important to ensure movement and strengthening within the full range of motion.

Finally, BFR training can be used when strength training hip musculature, including hip extensors, abductors, and external rotators. This can promote muscle adaptation with lower intensity, reducing strain on the IT band.


Effectively rehabilitating hip flexor strains, labral tears, and IT band syndrome in soccer players requires a tailored approach that integrates strength and conditioning physical therapy principles. By implementing these evidence-based strategies, soccer players can not only recover from these hip injuries but also enhance their overall performance on the field.

At Vulcan Performance in Birmingham, Alabama, we specialize in developing personalized, one-on-one physical therapy programs that address these common hip injuries. Our team is ready to assist you in achieving a successful recovery and return to play. Book your appointment with us today at Vulcan Performance Physical Therapy.


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