Iliotibial (IT) Band Stretches You Can Do at Home

The iliotibial band is a stocky band of tissue (fascia [1]), that begins from the pelvis’s iliac crest [2], and goes down the external or lateral side of the thigh, which then crosses the knee to fasten to the topmost part of the shinbone or tibia. The iliotibial band is also called the maissiats band or iliotibial tract. The IT band helps your hips move, rotate, extend and abduct. It also stabilizes and moves the side of the knee, and at the same time shields the outer thigh.

The IT band syndrome [3] is a lateral knee injury caused by the repetitive extension and overuse of the knees. This syndrome occurs when the IT band becomes inflamed, stiff and irritated. This stiffness causes a painful friction on the outside of the knee. The IT band syndrome is common amongst cyclists and runners. It can also develop from sitting and walking for too long, wearing high heels, bow legs, an unbalanced leg length and flat feet.

IT band issues and pain can be relieved by carrying out certain stretches and exercises that could lessen and relieve tightness and also enhance flexibility and strength. The best part is that these exercises can be done in our homes, dorms or living space. Iliotibial band stretches include:

The Piriformis Stretch & Iliotibial Band Stretch

  • Lay flat on the floor and make sure your legs are stretched out and straight.
  • Raise the affected leg and bend your knee.
  • With the opposite hand, pull the knee quite gently towards your opposite shoulder.
  • Hold this stretch for 20 to 25 seconds.
  • Repeat this stretch 2 to 3 times.

Stretch your iliotibial band and follow the below steps:

  • Standing upright, lean laterally against a wall. You can hold on to a counter or chair if you’re not balanced on your feet.
  • Stand on the affected leg beside the wall. Then, take your other leg across it.
  • Drop the affected hip out to the side of your body and against the wall. Then tilt away from your affected hip until you feel the stretch.
  • Hold this stretch for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 4 to 5 times