Updated: May 14
The iliotibial (IT) band
is a thick band of tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the knee. It helps to stabilize the knee during movement and is an important part of the running biomechanics. However, for many runners, the IT band can become tight and painful, leading to discomfort, poor machines and even injury. In this blog post, we'll explore why runners should stretch their IT band and how to do it effectively.
IT Band Syndrome -> IT Band Syndrome is a common overuse injury that affects many runners. It is caused by the repeated friction of the IT band as it rubs against the outside of the knee. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and stiffness in the knee, making it difficult to run or even walk. Stretching the IT band can help to prevent this injury and alleviate its symptoms.
Improved Range of Motion -> Stretching the IT band can help to improve your range of motion, which is important for runners. A tight IT band can limit the movement of the hip, which can cause compensatory movement patterns and lead to other injuries. By stretching the IT band, you can improve your flexibility and reduce your risk of injury.
Reduced Pain and Discomfort -> Stretching the IT band can help to reduce pain and discomfort in the knee and hip. This is especially important for runners who are dealing with IT Band Syndrome or other injuries. By stretching regularly, you can help to alleviate these symptoms and get back to running pain-free.
Better Running Form -> Stretching the IT band can also help to improve your running form. A tight IT band can cause compensatory movement patterns, such as crossover gait or hip drop, which can lead to other injuries. By stretching the IT band, you can improve your alignment and reduce your risk of injury.
We have covered foam rolling and cupping for the IT band here.
But, what about stretching?
How can you stretch your IT band effectively?
Partner stretch video: here
In conclusion, stretching the IT band is an important part of any runner's training routine. It can help to prevent injuries, improve flexibility and range of motion, reduce pain and discomfort, and improve running form.
By incorporating these stretches into your routine, you can stay healthy and injury-free on the road or trail.
**Thanks to Shay Potter from Stretch Lab St George, sharing her stretching skills & knowledge with us!**
It's important to improve your running form when having IT Band pain. Our Running Assessment has everything to help you: cues to think about while running & strengthening exercises specifically for you!
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