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Iliotibial Band Syndrome and Stretches - The Lunch Hour Athlete

Training Log For: 11/25/09

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Posted by Matthew

I may have talked about it in a previous blog, but I suspect that I may have suffered from ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome) a couple months back. Outside of running or jogging, there were no real signs that something was going wrong in my legs. However, whenever I would begin running or jogging, about 1.5-2 miles into the exercise, the outside of my knee and my lower thigh would start aching and would turn into a sharp pain. Several times I had to stop moving altogether until the pain died down.

For a couple weeks I had no idea what to try. I went through the usual calf and quad stretches, but the pain would just come back whenever I tried running again. Eventually it got to the point where I stopped all forms of running or jogging for a couple months. A friend overheard me complaining about my pain and mentioned that she had experienced similar problems in the same areas of her legs when she used to run. Her recommendation was to look into iliotibial band syndrome. I would discover that ITBS was the culprit.

You can find useful information on the problem all over the internet (ITBS), but here is a quick overview of what you need to know.

The iliotibial band runs down the outside of the thigh and aids in extending the leg away from the body (abduction). When your hip abductor muscles are weak, this can cause added stress and strain on the iliotibial band. Frequent agitation of the band can cause this fibrous band to begin rubbing on the skeletal structures of the knee. The result is an inflamed and strained iliotibial band (iliotibial band syndrome).

I have compiled some links to various stretches and exercises that I have found to be helpful in eliminating the pain from ITBS.


ITB stretches
more ITB stretches

Hip Abductor strengthening
additional Hip Abductor strengthening