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Fitness Tips

IT Band Stretches for Relief

Did you know that IT band issues prove among the most common running injuries of the lateral knee? They comprise 22 percent of all lower extremity injuries. 

And this type of injury doesn’t just strike runners. The iliotibial (IT) band can become inflamed and tight as a result of walking, hiking, or other exercises, too.

Known as iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), millions of Americans suffer from it each year. But how do you know whether you suffer from this condition or another knee injury?

Let’s take a look at the telltale signs of ITBS as well as some IT band stretches that can relieve the pain and get you back to the gym.

Classic Symptoms of ITBS

Do you experience pain along the side of the knee and thigh? If so, this is a classic symptom of IT band syndrome. In other words, a shortened IT band is causing friction over your knee and hip joints. 

Left untreated, this friction leads to fascia inflammation and lots of discomfort. What’s the best way to treat the condition? Plenty of rest as well as the right stretches.

It’s also worth exploring the benefits associated with physical therapy as an intervention for this condition. 

What will a physical therapist do for you? They’ll evaluate your strength and range of motion. Then, based on these findings, they’ll prescribe the best exercise regimen so that you can take back your life and put an end to ITBS.

Do a little online research to find a skilled physical therapist and then make an appointment. But that doesn’t mean you have to suffer until your first visit.

Instead, give these IT band stretches a try. They’ll help relieve the pain as well as prepare you for your first appointment.

IT Band Stretches for Rapid Relief

Start with the side-lying stretch for IT band injury. Lie on one side so that the knee you’re experiencing pain in rests on top. Bend your top knee so that you can grab hold of your ankle. At this point, you should feel tightness in your quad.

Gently pull back until you reach your edge. Then, place your bottom foot to the side of your top knee. As you gently pull your bottom knee down towards the floor, you’ll feel the outside portion of your top thigh lengthen.

You should not experience pain during this stretch. Listen to your body and recognize and adjust when you’ve gone too deeply into the stretch. Hold this pose for approximately 20 seconds and then repeat it three to five more times. 

Hip and ITB Stretch

Another stretch sure to bring instant relief is the seated hip and ITB stretch. The gentle twisting action lengthens your IT band. Start in a seated position with your legs out in front of you.

Bend your injured leg and cross it over the other leg with the foot resting flat on the ground. Then, rotate your body and head to look over the shoulder of the injured side. Hold this posture for 30 seconds. Repeat four more times.

These two gentle, simple stretches can be performed anywhere. What’s more, when you listen to your body, you’ll avoid further injury or strain. That means getting back to the gym sooner after your knee injury. 

Don’t Let ITBS Get You Down

Living with the pain of ITBS can put a serious damper on your life, especially if running, hiking, or walking is a big part of your fitness routine. Fortunately, the IT band stretches above can get you back on track. 

Interested in more remedies for your aches and pains? Read on for five back exercises that’ll change your life.