IT Band Syndrome Rehabilitation

IT(Iliotibial) Band Syndrome or ITBS is a common overuse injury to the outside of the knee which happens mostly to runners. The pain can be restricting and sidelining an athlete for days, weeks and even longer.

What is IT Band?IT band

Iliotibial Band is a muscular and thick band of fascia running from the outside of the knee. It extends from outside the hip and knee and finishes just below the knee. It is an important component of a runners body as it helps stabilising the knee during running. Any repetitive movement like running or cycling, may lead to irritation of this band leading to a stinging pain outside the knee.


1.  Sharp stinging pain on the outside of the knee or all along the length of the band. The pain is felt with the fall of step or when the knee is bent at 45 degree angle.

2.  It also may involve swelling of the painful area.

3.  Popping sound once the knee is bent.

Causes of ITBS

1.  Running on banked surface of the road continuously which leads to irritation of the band of the downhill leg.

2.  Poor running form and over pronation.

3.  Wearing worn out shoe while running.

4.  Weak glutes lead to excess side to side movement which can irritate IT band.

5.  Sudden increase in mileage.

6.  Running without performing an adequate warm up can put sudden pressure on the fascia.

7.  Excessive uphill or downhill running.

8.  Uneven leg length which causes extra stretching of the band of the shorter leg( I have this uneven leg length, the left is longer than the right one).

9.  Being bow legged also leads to this injury.

Prevention of ITBS

1.  Stop or decrease the mileage if experiencing pain.

2.  Gradually increase mileage i.e 10%  increase from the average distance run of the previous week. Also take a recovery week every 3rd or 4th week in which reduce the total distance run in each week.

3.  Change directions if running on banked surface or change the route to run.

4.  Incorporate an adequate warm up routine before the run.

5.  Replace shoes if the sole is worn out on the outside.

6.  Read this to improve running form.

7.  Perform exercises to strengthen lower body and core muscles.

Treatment of ITBS

I perform few exercises whenever I feel this pain. These exercises basically strengthens the band and help in stretching it and makeing it supple.

1.  Recovery

ITBS, if checked in time, can be cured easily. Follow the RICE method i.e R for rest, I for ice, C for compression(it may not help) and E for elevate.

2.  Stretches and exercises

Following stretches can be performed to relieve the stress on IT band, hence increasing blood circulation to aid recovery.

a)  Pigeon pose
pigeon pose - IT band rahab

Pigeon Pose

Hold the pose for 30 seconds or so till it gets comfortable. Throughout the movement keep breathing normally. Repeat this exercise several times throughout the day if IT band feels tight.





b)  Sitting glute stretch
glute stretch - IT band rehab

Same as the above stretch, hold it for 30 seconds or so. A variation is doing this stretch while lying down or standing.




c)  IT band stretch
IT band rehab

I perform this throughout the day or in warm up or whenever while running I feel the pain. It is one of the best stretches to elongate the IT band.





d)  Lying side leg raises
side leg raises - IT band rehab

Another excellent exercise to strengthen the IT band. Perform a 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps. Do not bend the knee while lifting otherwise it will lose its effectiveness.



e)  ClamShell
Clamshell - IT band rehab

Another good exercise to target the lateral hip muscles. Perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps. Keep the head, neck and spine in a straight line.





f)  Other treatments include non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs and corticosteroid injections in worse cases.

It is always advisable to read about injury prevention before it strikes you. A correct diagnosis and timely action can save a lot of downtime. Be proactive and read about running apart from actually running. Reading up always helps. In case you have any query or additions to the above, please feel free to add on.

Till then stay fit and keep running.

Reference :

1.  Images - Google.
2.  Wikipedia.
Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Neel banerjee

Author: Neel

I am Neel and the creator of borN. I am an ultra marathoner, scuba diver, adventurer, writer and father of an extremely active child.

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  1. I love this post! Thank you so much for helping a beginner runner understand about IT band syndrome and how to take precaution! Love the stretches too. I could do them daily just because they feel so great! Have a great weekend 🙂

    Post a Reply
    • Hey thanks for the comment and glad you liked the post. Yeah, ITBS is one troublesome injury which plagues the runners in their running career at some point of time. Being educated about it and prepared always helps to cut short the downtime.
      You too have a great weekend.

      Post a Reply
    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Yes, golf ball can also help alleviate the ITBS. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Post a Reply

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