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IT Band Syndrome and How To Stop The Pain

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Short Script

Stop foam rolling and stretching your IT band. Start releasing muscles and strengthen deficits.

What is your Iliotibial Band (IT Band)?

  • It is a dense fascia (connective tissue) that is extends from the outside of the pelvis to lateral knee. Unlike the muscle, it does not have any contractile components. Subsequently, it cannot be stretched.
  • Its purpose is to help stabilize the knee during running along with the dynamic hip stabilizers, glute max and med. 

Where does it hurt?

  • Two common sites of pain are at the lateral hip or lateral knee. At the hip, you may experience difficulty or have pain with stairs, standing on one leg, or even lying on the affected side. At the knee you may feel pain as you extend your knee from a flexed position with walking or running. 

Controversial Thought About Your IT Band

  • The pain is not coming from your IT band but the surrounding muscle tissue from overuse, overactivation, or inhibition. 
  • Below are pictures of muscles with referral patterns similar IT Band syndrome. 
tFL - IT Band Syndrome and How To Stop The Pain
Tensor Fascia Latae
glutemed - IT Band Syndrome and How To Stop The Pain
Gluteus Medius/Minimus
vastuslateralis - IT Band Syndrome and How To Stop The Pain
Vastus Lateralis

How to find relief?

  • Myofascial release using a foam roller or a tennis ball. Finding areas of pain in the muscle tissue and applying pressure 2-3 minutes per region.
  • Performing stabilizing exercises for hip and knee control

Foam Rolling the TFL 

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  1. This muscle sits on the front fourth of the pelvis and directly attaches to the IT band
  2. Lie on the foam on your side supported by your arms
  3. For more support place the unaffected leg over the side you are foam rolling as pictured
  4. Roll until you find an area of pain. 
  5. Sustain pressure for 2-3 minutes before moving to another area of pain 

Foam rolling Vastus Lateralis (Lateral Quad)

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  1. This muscle sits in front, behind, and underneath the IT band. Try to find tender areas in front or behind the IT band. 
  2. Lie on the foam on your side supported by your arms
  3. For more support place unaffected leg over the side you are foam rolling in a figure four position
  4. Roll until you find an area of pain. 
  5. Sustain pressure for 2-3 minutes before moving to another area of pain 

Foam rolling the glute med/min

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  1. Sit on the foam roller
  2. Cross left ankle over your right knee
  3. Roll until you find an area of pain.
  4. Sustain pressure for 2-3 minutes before moving to another area of pain 

Banded Clams

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  1. Lie on your side; you can perform flat or propped up on elbow as seen in picture above 
  2. Place a band just above knees
  3. Stack your knees, ankles, and feet
  4. Keep ankles and feet together as you lift your knee as high as it can go without rotating pelvis backwards
  5. Return to start position
  6. 2 sets of 10-15 reps per side 

Modified Side planks

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  1. Lie on your side 
  2. Place your elbow directly under your shoulder and bend your knees slightly forward
  3. Stack knees, ankles, and feet
  4. Inhale to prepare
  5. Exhale pressing into elbow and outside of the bottom knee
  6. Maintain a straight line and make sure not to roll hips forward to maintain a stacked position with top knee at hip height
  7. Hold for 10 seconds; repeat 4-5x on each side

Towel Slides 

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  1. Place a towel under your foot
  2. Start with your knees soft, slightly bent, and feet hip width apart
  3. Keep one leg stable (you may have to push laterally to maintain stability)
  4. Move your leg over towel to the side 
  5. Return the start position
  6. Then move the same leg 45 degrees backwards as depicted by picture
  7. Return to start position
  8. Do 2 sets of 10 reps per side

Check out our Youtube Channel to find more exercises to strengthen your hips! If you are looking for more guidance, feel free to contact us and one of our Physical Therapists would love to help you.

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