7 IT Band Stretches to Alleviate Hip and Knee Pain

Your IT (or iliotibial) band, a thick cord of connective tissue that runs along the outside of your thighs from your hip to your knee, may not be well known to you. However, it plays a crucial part in aiding your mobility. Particularly during high-impact exercises like jogging or jumping, your IT band aids in stabilising the hips and knees. Additionally, you’ll notice any tightness or irritation very soon.

When connective tissue grinds on the thigh bone, it can cause IT band syndrome (ITBS), which causes pain in the outside of the thighs, hips, or knees. In fact, there’s a likelihood that knee pain you’ve ever experienced—rather than a problem with your knee itself—is being brought on by a tight IT band. When performing lateral movements, putting additional weight on the affected limb, running, or engaging in other high-impact activities, you may experience pain. Because of this, ITBS is frequent in long-distance walkers, cyclists, and runners.

How to stretch your IT band

People frequently attempt to stretch their tight IT bands by performing lateral lunges in an effort to alleviate their pain. However, it turns out that this usual stretch accomplishes very little to release the IT band. According to research on the IT band’s construction, stretching it would be extremely unlikely because of the band’s strength, says Jeff Gaudette, a certified run coach and proprietor of RunnersConnect, an online training resource for runners. Foam rolling the area won’t provide any help either, he continues.

According to Brian Gurney, DPT, CSCS, a physical therapist, trainer, and board-certified sports clinical specialist at BeFit Therapy in New York City, “Those typical stretches might feel good, but they don’t do much because they’re not curing the problem—you’re not getting to why you have IT band pain in the first place.” Stretching the muscles around your IT band is a superior method for reducing the pressure on it.

Gurney says that when people lack hip extension, they frequently get IT band syndrome. When you lose hip extension, a series of events follow. Your glutes find it more difficult to contract. In an effort to make up for it, you begin to shift more weight on your outside leg. Your entire leg mechanics shift when your calves and IT band tighten.

Try these stretches to ease your IT band pain and target the muscles that will improve your mobility and movement patterns. Hold each one for ten seconds or more.

1. Glues swell

This stretch aids in releasing gluteal stress, which might result in IT band problems. Lay face up on a yoga mat with your knees bent and your feet flat. Hold the grab just below the knee to support your left foot as you raise it to the ceiling. When you draw the foot toward your chest, make sure your shin is approximately perpendicular to your torso by rotating it to the side. Repeat with the opposing leg after holding the stretch. Keep your non-stretching leg outstretched on the floor as you stretch for a deeper stretch. For a figure-four stretch, you can also cross your planted knee over your raised ankle.

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2. Absorptive stretch

Since your IT band connects your outer thighs to your knees and glutes, pain there is common if it is overused. With your knees bent and your feet pressed together on the floor in front of you, take a seat on a towel or exercise mat. For balance, put your hands on the ground behind you. With your legs relaxed and slightly raised off the floor, sit up straight, tilting your pelvis forward and leaning into your hands. For a deep stretch, you can also grab your feet and bend over your legs.

3.Degree lumbar rotation

Wrap a resistance band or yoga strap around your left ankle and lay faceup on a yoga mat. Pull up to raise your left leg so the foot is pointing upward while holding the band’s ends in your right hand. Pull the band to the right while keeping your left leg straight to extend it across your body with your left hip firmly planted on the ground. Avoid rolling onto the outside of your right leg. Hold before repeating on the other side.

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Lay on your left side with your legs stacked directly on top of one another in the foetal position. Holding your right ankle with your right hand and your left leg at the shin with your left hand. Pull your right leg behind you while maintaining your tucked-in position. (Being tucked in makes it easier to isolate your quads.) Repeat on the other side after holding.

5. Hip and quad stretch

Kneel in front of the wall while keeping your back to it. Raise your left foot behind you and rest it against the wall while keeping your left knee firmly planted on the floor. Step out on your right leg, keeping the thigh parallel to the floor and the knee bent. Hold before repeating on the other side. Consider placing a folded yoga mat or towel under your knee if you experience knee pain.

6. Yoga strap quad stretch

Place yourself right next to a bench. Place your left knee on the bench while keeping your right foot on the floor. Lift your left foot behind you, and then encircle it with a lengthy yoga strap or resistance band. Until you feel a stretch in your left quads and hip flexors, bend your right knee and lean forward. 30 seconds of holding, then switch to the other side. You can perform this stretch on the floor if a bench is not available.

7. Spinal turning

Kneel down on the floor with your feet flat on the surface. Turn your torso to the right, looking back and putting your left arm towards the outside of your right knee. Hold before repeating on the other side.

Also Read ABout Brooke Shields Favorite Lower Back Stretches