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IT Band Stretches

Updated: May 3

Iliotibial band (IT Band) injuries are common, particularly among distance runners. IT Band Syndrome results from overuse and manifests itself with severe pain on the outside of the knee. It is important to keep the IT band and surrounding tissue loose and stretched so there is no extra friction when bending the knee during repetitive motions like running and cycling.

Watch this video from Coach Jerett Gordon for three simple things you can do to manage IT Band Syndrome:

Foam Rolling Technique

Place foam roller just under the hip on the IT band. You don't want to be on the bone. Extend opposite leg for stability and for a better stretch. In one fluid motion, roll from the hip to just above the knee. Do it VERY SLOWLY. Take 1-2 minutes to roll to the knee, then roll back in one fluid motion, taking 1-2 minutes again moving toward the hip. This will stretch out the IT band and break up the fascia. You can do it multiple times per day.

Good Stretch

Kneel next to a wall. To get a meaningful stretch of the IT band, you will need to have the knee flexed. Put the opposite heel right next to your knee in front. Lean toward the wall, pushing the hip toward the wall. Keep the torso vertical. Don't collapse in, or stick your hips out. A vertical torso will help facilitate a good stretch at the hip. You might feel it in the side of the knee as well. You might also feel it in the glutes on the opposite leg. Weak glutes or tight glutes are a contributing factor to IT Band Syndrome. Check out this video to strengthen your glutes and help with the tight IT band. Hold the position for 2-3 minutes—a long time to get a meaningful lengthening of the IT band. You can also do this stretch multiple times per day.

Basic Ice Routine

The last technique is an icing technique. Grab a frozen water bottle or a frozen styrofoam cup of water, with the styrofoam removed. Put the ice right on the insertion of the IT band above the knee, working it around in circles. Do the same for the hip, at the origin of the IT band. You can put the ice right on the skin, so you get good coverage and cooling. Do the ice for 15 minutes. You can alternate with ice and heat multiple times per day.

All three techniques can be done multiple times per day, every day, for as many days as needed. It will take awhile to break up the tightness in the IT band.

Good luck, we hope this helps!


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