The illiotibial or IT band is a thick band of fibrous tissue that connects your hip to the outside of your knee and helps provide stability to the knee joint. When this band becomes inflamed, this means you have a condition called IT band syndrome, or ITBS. Runners commonly develop this knee problem, but since it’s one of the least understood running injuries, it can be difficult to treat.

Conventional methods for treating ITBS include icing, stretching, and resting. However, this stubborn injury often flares up as soon as you think you’ve healed enough to start running again. That’s why you need to strengthen and support your leg muscles with exercises for IT band syndrome. Here’s what we recommend.

Side Leg Raises

7 Exercises for IT Band Syndrome Side Leg Raises

Lie down on your uninjured side. Prop yourself up on your elbow and place your hands on the floor to stabilize yourself. Keeping both legs straight, lift your top leg up 45 degrees. Then, lower your leg back to the starting position. For added difficulty, loop a resistance band around your ankles. Repeat 20 to 30 times.

Clamshell

7 Exercises for IT Band Syndrome Clamshell

Lie down on your uninjured side and rest your head on your upper arm. Keep your knees and ankles together and bend your legs 90 degrees. Open your knees, but keep your feet touching. For added difficulty, loop a resistance band around your thighs just above your knees. Repeat 20 to 30 times.

Hip Raises

7 Exercises for IT Band Syndrome Hip Raises

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your arms by your sides. Raise your hips off the floor, driving your heels into the ground to activate your glutes. Lower back down almost to the ground, and then thrust your hips upward again. For added difficulty, rest the ankle of your uninjured leg on the opposite knee, and repeat the exercise with all your weight on one leg. Repeat 20 to 30 times.

Side Plank

7 Exercises for IT Band Syndrome Side Plank

Lie on your injured side propped up on your elbow with your other hand on your hip. Keep your feet stacked and raise yourself up off the floor, activating through the hip. Slower lower yourself back to the floor. Repeat 10 to 30 times.

Side Shuffle

7 Exercises for IT Band Syndrome Side Shuffle

Bend your knees into a shallow squat position and raise your arms in front of you. Take 10 shuffling steps to one side. Facing the same direction, take 10 shuffling steps back to your starting position. This is one set. For added difficulty, wrap a resistance band around your ankles. Repeat the set three to five times.

Pistol Squat

7 Exercises for IT Band Syndrome Pistol Squat

Stand on your injured leg, extending the other in front of you at a 45-degree angle. Hold your hands in front of you for stability. Squat until your thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight and move with a slow, controlled motion. Raise yourself back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Hip Hike

7 Exercises for IT Band Syndrome Hip Hike

Stand with your injured leg on a raised platform and dangle the foot of your uninjured leg over the side. Lower your hovering foot to the floor, keeping both legs straight, so your pelvis pivots sideways. Activate the hip on your injured side and lift your leg back to the neutral position. Repeat 10 to 30 times.

Treat IT Band Syndrome at Spine Correction Center

At-home stretches and exercises for IT band syndrome can be incredibly effective, but sometimes you need a little extra care to heal fully. Visit Spine Correction Center in Fort Collins for an MRI scan to uncover the extent of the damage. Our massage therapist can also provide you with relieving massages, and we can offer personalized advice about stretching and exercising at home for the best results.

To get started down the path to a full recovery, please contact Spine Correction Center online or call (970) 658-5115 to schedule a free consultation. If you can’t visit us in person, we also offer online and telephone consultations.