IT Band Pain for Runners

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (IT Band): how to identify if you have it, fix it, and prevent it from returning

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According to Runner’s World, ITB is “one of the most common overuse injuries among runners.”  Competitor Running says that the IT band is a “thick piece of connective tissue that runs parallel to the femur from the hip to the knee.”


Pain spots

You’ll feel pain on the outside of your knee or even near the hip bone.

IT Band Syndrome

Inflammation of the iliotibial band (ITB) causes outer knee pain and possible pain in the hip, MendMeShop TM ©2011


Questions to ask

  • Are your shoes old?
  • Are you always running on the same side of the road?
  • Too much (fast) mileage on a track, going in the same direction?
  • Have you ramped up your mileage recently?
  • Do I have any muscle imbalances?

Stretches & Exercises

The IT band responds well to stretching and the earlier you can get into a routine of stretching your IT Band, the better.

Here are a few videos that can help demonstrate the type of stretches you should be doing to help minimize IT Band pain.


Altering Training & Preventing IT Band Pain

  1. Back off of training for a few days (2-3 days should work) and cross train (bike, swim, or elliptical) instead of run.  You can add yoga into your typical running routine which will help you with stretching, injury prevention, and building strength.
  2. Warm up with active stretching prior to running.
  3. Foam rolling before and after a run or workout.
  4. Make sure your shoes aren’t worn down in any one place.  If they are, aim to get the shoes replaced at a specialty running store in your area.
  5. Run on a flat road (rather than on the edge of a road where it dips).
  6. If you must run on a track, alter the direction you run in.
  7. If nothing helps alleviate the pain, time off from running is recommended.

IT Band Syndrome is a big pain that can really hamper your training.  If you are experiencing pain on the outside of your hip or knee, you might have ITBS.  To rehab and recover from this injury, follow this plan and if it doesn’t get any better, you’ll want to take time off from running and see a doctor or specialist.

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