Taking Care of Your Iliotibial Band

More commonly known as the IT band, this long, thick fascial structure runs from the outside of your hip to the outside of your knee. Up in your hip, it transitions into a muscle called the Tensor Fascia Latae (the one that always makes us think of coffee…) which is part of the gluteus maximus and the medius. If you’ve ever felt pain in your knee when you’re running or biking, you’re well aware of your IT band and the nuisance it can be when the weather starts to cool down and your mileage increases or your rides get longer. 

Does this ring true? Make an appointment with us, and we’ll help you figure out exactly what’s going on!

Fun Facts About the Iliotibial Band

Because it’s so closely tied into a part of the body that experiences a ton of movement, your IT band can become stressed for myriad reasons. Movements like hip adduction or knee internal rotation, and a tight TFL, gluteus maximus, and medius can all strain the iliotibial.

If you do find yourself experiencing pain, it’s important to avoid crossing your legs so as not to aggravate it and for quick relief, try sleeping with a pillow between your knees to reduce tension. If you have any lingering pain, though, don’t hesitate to give us a call—chiropractic care, massage, and the right stretching tools can help get you back on the right track. 

Tips for a Happier Iliotibial Band

The good news: simple exercise and stretching can do away with an unhappy iliotibial band! As an added bonus, you’ll likely be able to do it all with equipment you already have around the house. 

Stretching

Remember to keep a slight bend in both knees during this one. Lean away from the side that you would like to stretch, and feel the stretch in the lateral thigh. Ramp it up by adding your arms or even creating a higher platform by starting on a yoga block. Hold for 30-45 seconds on each side. 

Strengthening

The Clamshell:

If you have been in our office lately, you know that this is our favorite series of exercises to strengthen the hip abductors and reduce tension on the IT band. Be sure to keep your pelvis stacked and heels together. Bring your knees apart like a clam and hold it in this position for 45 seconds to one minute on each side. Repeat three times. 

The Jane Fonda:

This one is very similar to the clamshell except it requires straight legs. Make sure your toes are pointed towards your nose and pelvis is stacked. Hold this position for 45 seconds to one minute on each side. Repeat three times.

The FireHydrant:

Get into a quadruped position. Be sure that your wrists are positioned under your shoulders and knees under hips. Kick your leg out diagonally while keeping your pelvis level. This exercise does not require much movement. If you experience pain in your wrists during this exercise, modify by standing with your arms against the wall. Hold for 45 seconds to one minute on each side. Repeat three times.

Want to schedule an appointment with an iliotibial expert? Get in touch with us today. For more updates on the goings on around our office, catch us on Facebook and keep an eye out for upcoming free events!