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My iliotibial band and me

December 10, 2009

I had my first day of PT yesterday. It is confirmed, I have an extremely tight, and inflamed iliotibial band. No more running until I’m all better. In the meantime, hopefully I can find another cardio workout that doesn’t hurt.

Anatomy of Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Courtesy of North Shore Athletics

Common Stressors Which May Impact the Development of ITBS

Intrinsic Factors

1. Tightness in the iliotibial band.(Check)

2. Myofascial restrictions in the hip and thigh musculature, which will increase tension on the band;

3. Weakness in hip abductors, (common in distance runners). (Check)

4. Weakness or poor control of knee muscles, especially the quads. (Check)

5. Dominance of anterior hip muscles, (TFL) over posterior hip muscles, (gluts).

6. Excessively flat feet or high arches. (Check)

7. Bow legs or knock-knees.

8. Leg length inequality.

9. Limited ankle range of motion.

Extrinsic Factors

1. Training errors e.g. Excessive mileage, sudden increase in mileage, sudden increase in intensity of training, too much hill work, running on crowned roads. (Check)

2. Over striding.

3. Worn out running shoes. (Check)

4. Failing to warm up or cool down properly. (Check)

Now, to fix it!

Foam Roller

  • Set yourself up with the side of your thigh on the roller. Stack your other leg on top of the leg you’re rolling out. This will add weight allowing you to dig deeper into the band.
  • Support yourself with your upper body and push yourself from just above the knee all the way to your hip.
  • Hold you position on a “hot spot”, count to 10, and roll to a new “hot spot”count to 10, continue in a few  “hot spots”.
  • Roll up and down a few times and switch legs.

ITB Roller. Courtesy of North Shore Athletics

This lady may look happy, but there is no chance that she is. This is by far, one of the most painful excersises/stretches I’ve ever done.


Stretching is of utmost importance. I should have know. I can’t remember the last time I did a good stretch after a run, silly me. But now I suffer the consequences, no more running until this pain goes away and my hips are stronger.

ITBS Stretch. Courtesy of EPIC Self.

ITBS Stretch. Courtesy of Running Times.


Now add Exercise! Weak hip stabilizers are the cause of many injuries from lower back pain to knee and foot pain. This exercise will help strengthen my hip stabilizers and will keep my pelvis level while running so the ITB is not stressed as much. This will also keep my ITB from being overused.

Hip Stabilizer. Courtesy of North Shore Athletics

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Rehabilitation Exercises. Courtesy of Relay Heath.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2009 8:54 am

    Me again. I should have commented on this one first since I gushed on about my TLF muscle earlier…LOL Thanks for this info. I’ve been looking for more exercises for my iliotibial band. I wear a LapStrap (sp?), too, which helps a LOT with stabilizing the tendon above and below my knee. How goes the therapy? BTW, I grew up in MN and learned the Gopher fight song when I was 2 🙂

    • Marie permalink
      December 30, 2009 9:09 am

      I didn’t know about the TFL muscle, but I have that problem too, specifically the IT Band. Ad-ductor and ab-ductor machines are great, as well. I should strengthen and stretch. Easier said than done.

      Therapy has been slow, only two scheduled. Hopefully I’ve been doing a good enough job on my own that they don’t force anything. Though, I wouldn’t mind an ultrasound massage. Actually, I really want them to give me an ultrasound massage. I prefer the easy route when it comes to pain.

      The foam roller is by far the best. It hurts so good. I think my biggest problem is that my job requires that I sit all day. I need to get up and move more during my 8 hours at the office. My coworkers might get weirded out if I bring the roller to work.

      Need – Should- Want

      Motivation is key to all of the above.

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