The IT Band is one of the most common injuries and pains that athletes run into. While we have a full guide on treating your IT Band, this guide will go over some of the very best stretches you can do for ITB.
The abbreviation “IT” in IT band stands for iliotibial tract. This is a tendon that can be found running down the outer thigh - attaching at the top of the pelvis and ending at the shin bone. As you can imagine, this is a major tendon that has the incredibly important job of keeping the hips and the knees properly stabilized.
Before we jump in, the main thing to know is that you should not try to treat the IT band directly. The IT band is a tendon, not a muscle - so the best way to treat IT Band pain is to properly treat and stretch the muscles around the IT band.
A common syndrome that people experience in regards to the IT band is called IT Band Syndrome. This refers to pain that is felt on the outside of the knee - particularly when moving the knee through its range of motion. Commonly, this occurs because the muscles surrounding the IT band are tight and pull on the IT band causing that pain felt in the outer portion of the knee.
Tight muscles can occur from a number of different activities like running, jumping, poor movement patterns, imbalances or poor alignment, lots of time spent sitting, and differences in leg length. As you can see, these aren’t rare occurrences, so experiencing IT band syndrome is quite common.
Fortunately, these muscles can be loosened and strengthened with simple and effective exercises! Muscles that are important to focus on are the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, hip rotators - to name a few. Our stretches and exercises listed below are comprehensive so if you stay consistent, you should experience a decrease in pain quite quickly.
Ready to be pain free? Let's get started.
Joel is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE and the founder of MoveWell. Joel founded MoveWell after sustaining an injury while running an ultra marathon on every continent. Joel is writes about mobility, pain management and health and wellness overall.
Some of the best it band resources + citations we found