OC Sports & Rehab


The IT Band, also known as the iliotibial band, is a tough fibrous tissue on the outside of the leg. It extends from the hip all the way down to the knee. IT Band Syndrome or IT Band Tendinitis are terms used to describe problems with the IT Band.

IT Band tendinitis or syndrome does not appear suddenly, despite how it may appear. You will not fall down the stairs and then have IT Band syndrome the next day. It takes time to grow, and you will most likely overlook the early warning signs. It usually begins with a pang of pain on the outside of the knee. However, this niggle can be overlooked. And ignoring it gives it time to worsen and become more irritated. Ignoring it does not make it go away; in fact, it makes it worse.

The discomfort in the knee eventually becomes unbearable and cannot be ignored. You may be unable to run, climb stairs, cycle, or walk without limping. When the pain is strong enough, it can lead you to stop in your tracks. The issue is that if you go to your doctor and they do an X-Ray or an MRI, there is no problem that will show up on any of these that is related to IT Band Syndrome; you need someone like a physical therapist to feel the muscles to confirm that it is indeed IT Band syndrome.

What Causes IT Band Tendinitis?

  • Type of footwear
  • Weakness of muscles
  • Tightness in areas of the body
  • Running form

How Can IT Band Syndrome Be Treated?

  1. Footwear – When dealing with IT Band difficulties, the easiest item to adjust and address is footwear. You should always walk in good sneakers that are custom-fit to your foot. While there is inflammation, do not stroll in bare feet or flip-flops. Even around the home, you should walk in appropriate supportive running shoes to relieve as much pressure as possible from the IT Band.
  2. Strengthening– You must undertake activities to strengthen the weak muscles. There are exercises for each muscle group, but it is critical that you visit a physical therapist before beginning so that you can identify which muscles are weak and need to be developed before jumping in.The glue medius is a muscle that is frequently weak in people and plays an important role in hip stabilization. View our hip physical therapy videos for assistance with hip and abdominal strengthening exercises. Hip hikes are depicted in this video. You must stand on one leg, maintain your knee straight, and lower and then elevate your hip. Take your time with this. Repeat this 30 times on each side, aiming for three sets. You do not need to worry about gaining weight because your goal is to increase both endurance and strength. If you execute this correctly, you should feel a burn in your standing leg.The following strengthening exercise is simply a side leg kick. Maintaining independent balance while standing on one leg will also help strengthen the leg and relieve pressure on your IT Band. Standing on one leg, kick the opposing leg out to the side and back at a nearly 45-degree angle. This is also demonstrated in the video. This will also strengthen several hip muscles. You don’t want to add weight to this, so go slowly and deliberately. Doing three sets of 30 of these is a good way to begin strengthening, and if you can finish those sets without difficulty, you can progress to the next exercise.
  3. IT Band Stretching and Loosening – While there are no real helpful stretches for the IT Band, some people swear by the stretch where you put your hip against the wall. If you find that stretching helps you, keep doing it. Although unpleasant, the foam roller is the most effective technique to loosen up your IT Band. Foam rolling the IT Band is an effective approach to loosen it up and make it less painful over time. Many individuals quit foam rolling their IT Band because it is too painful, yet this is exactly when you should be doing it.When it is unpleasant to foam roll the IT Band, this indicates that there are many knots in the muscle, which can cause pain and be the single reason for the pain you are feeling. It is critical that you loosen them in order to feel healthier. Stretching will not help you relax these knots; only foam rolling can.Begin by resting on your side with the foam roller on the afflicted IT Band. Place the top leg in front of you on the floor. To relieve the most strain on the IT Band, place the top leg in front with the foot flat on the floor. This is demonstrated in the video. Pushing up on your hands and rolling your foot along the IT Band Make sure you don’t slide off the IT Band. When you’re rolling, make sure you stay on your side. It is simple to rotate and roll on the rear of your leg or to roll more on the front of your leg, but this will prevent you from rolling the IT Band. Even though it is less unpleasant and enticing, stay on the sidelines and apply the IT Band.

Contact one of our trained physical therapists to learn more about treating IT Band Syndrome.