Iliotibial Band Syndrome: Exercises

20 Feb, 2024 | Dr. Malik | No Comments

Iliotibial Band Syndrome: Exercises


Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome is a common injury often seen in runners and cyclists but can affect anyone. The IT band is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin. IT band syndrome occurs when this band becomes tight or inflamed, causing pain and tenderness, especially just above the knee joint.
The pain typically worsens with activity, particularly running or cycling, and may subside with rest. The condition is often the result of overuse, such as from long-distance running or cycling, and can be exacerbated by improper alignment or biomechanics during physical activity.
Treatment for IT band syndrome usually includes rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and swelling. Stretching and strengthening exercises can help improve flexibility and balance the muscles around the hips and knees. In some cases, physical therapy may be recommended to address underlying biomechanical issues, and in very severe cases, corticosteroid injections or even surgery may be considered.
Here are some examples of exercises for you to try. The exercises may be suggested for a condition or for rehabilitation. Start each exercise slowly. Ease off the exercises if you start to have pain.

How to do the exercises

Iliotibial band stretch

  1. Lean sideways against a wall. If you are not steady on your feet, hold on to a chair or counter.
  2. Stand on the leg with the affected hip, with that leg close to the wall. Then cross your other leg in front of it.
  3. Let your affected hip drop out to the side of your body and against the wall. Then lean away from your affected hip until you feel a stretch.
  4. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Piriformis stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your legs straight.
  2. Lift your affected leg and bend your knee. With your opposite hand, reach across your body, and then gently pull your knee toward your opposite shoulder.
  3. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Hamstring wall stretch

  1. Lie on your back in a doorway, with your good leg through the open door.
  2. Slide your affected leg up the wall to straighten your knee. You should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your leg.
  3. Hold the stretch for at least 1 minute to begin. Then try to lengthen the time you hold the stretch to as long as 6 minutes.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
  5. If you do not have a place to do this exercise in a doorway, there is another way to do it:
  6. Lie on your back, and bend the knee of your affected leg.
  7. Loop a towel under the ball and toes of that foot, and hold the ends of the towel in your hands.
  8. Straighten your knee, and slowly pull back on the towel. You should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your leg.
  9. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Or even better, hold the stretch for 1 minute if you can.
  10. Repeat 2 to 4 times.
  1. Do not arch your back.
  2. Do not bend either knee.
  3. Keep one heel touching the floor and the other heel touching the wall. Do not point your toes.
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