IT Band Stretch – 6 Exercises to Treat IT Band Syndrome

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IT Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome (IT Band Syndrome) is a common knee injury caused by inflammation of the distal portion of iliotibial band, which result in lateral knee pain. The iliotibial band is a thick band of fascia that crosses the hip joint and extends distally to insert on the patella, tibia, and biceps femoris tendon. In some athletes, repetitive flexion and extension of the knee causes the distal iliotibial band to become irritated and inflamed resulting in diffuse lateral knee pain. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, as it moves from behind the femur to the front of femur during activity.

Cause

  • Overuse
  • Tight tissues
  • Weak hip muscles
  • Poor running form
  • Shoe or orthotic issues

Gender

Iliotibial band syndrome has been reported in men and women equally; however women may be more susceptible to developing the syndrome because of anatomical differences of the thigh and knee, such as genuvarum and increased internal tibial rotation. These anatomical differences result in weakness of the quadriceps muscle and an increased varus angle of the femur in relation to the knee

Sign and Symptoms

IT band syndrome range from a stinging sensation just above the knee joint, to swelling or thickening of the tissue in the area where the band over the femur.

The stinging sensation just above the knee or along the entire length of the iliotibial band. Pain may not occur immediately during activity, but may intensify over time. Pain is most commonly felt when the foot strikes the ground, and pain might persist after activity. Pain may also be present above and below the knee, where the ITB attaches to the tibia. It will also hurt if you twist your knee to turn a corner.

Treatment for IT Band Syndrome

  • Rest: rest is important to allow the inflamed tendon to heal. Continuing to run with ITB syndrome will most likely make it worse.
  • Cryotherapy: apply cold therapy or ice to reduce pain and inflammation. Ice should be applied for 10-15 minutes every hour until initial pain has gone then later 2 or 3 times a day
  • Stretching Exercise

Standing ITB stretches

1. Basic ITB stretch

Starting position: Stand upright and cross your right leg behind your left.

Action: Lean slightly forwards and to your left side until you feel a stretch on the outside of your right leg. Lean on a chair/wall if needed and hold for 30 seconds.

Repetition: Repeat 3 times, daily before and after exercise

Progression: place your hands on your head while doing this to increase the stretch

 2. Wall ITB stretch 

Starting Position: start as with the first exercise but cross your right leg further over behind you to the left. Place your hands on your head or lean on a wall for support ensuring your hands are above your head as this increase the stretch. 

Action: lean to the left while gently gliding your hips to the right until you feel a stretch and hold for 30 secs.

Repetition: repeat 3 times.

ITB stretches lying down

1. Side lying ITB stretch

Starting position: Lie on your left side at the edge of a bed/table with your bottom knee bent

Action: Move your right leg backward so it hangs down over the edge of the bed. Gradually try and let the right leg drop down more to increase the stretch and hold for 30 seconds.

2. Belt ITB stretch

Starting Position: Lie on your back with a belt looped around your right foot

Action: bring your right leg straight up and across your body until you feel a stretch on your outer thigh and old for 30 seconds.

Progression: Increase the stretch by turning your foot inwards as you do the exercise

3. Assisted iliotibial band stretches

Starting Position: Lie on your back with your leg straight.

Action: Assistant brings your right leg up and across your body until you feel a stretch on the outer side of your thigh and hold for 30 seconds.

Progression: Increase the stretch by turning your foot inwards as you do the exercise

4. Gluteus stretch

Lie on your back with one leg flat on your floor. Pull the other knee up to your chest. Then pull it across your body until you feel a stretch in the buttock and outer hip. Hold for 30 seconds.

Want to know more about IT Band Syndrome and treatement? Download Portea’s Mobile app and chat with a doctor for free. You can also book physiotherapy sessions via our app or through the website; visit: Physiotherapy at Home

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