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Knee Exercises

IT Band Exercises

Minute Read

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Posted 5 months ago

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Last updated: 04/12/2022

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by James McCormack

Iliotibial band syndrome is best treated, and most effectively resolved, with physical exercise. Physio assessment and management plans for iliotibial band syndrome will center around physio exercises. Some exercises will be to build strength, and address muscle imbalances, others to work on muscle and joint flexibility.

Read more about what Iliotibial Band Syndrome is and How do you fix Iliotibial Band Syndrome?.

Weightlifting is a brilliant way of building strength when you have an injury, reducing muscle imbalances and preventing injuries from developing. With weightlifting, you are able to choose specific movements and strengthening exercises that do not aggravate your symptoms, while still strengthening any weaknesses that may be contributing to your injury. Muscle imbalances are easy to develop with repetitive and habitual exercise that isn’t varied. Such as with someone who loves running, so does a lot of running and not a lot else. They might live in a flat area so generally run on flat terrain, and without a specific training plan, people often run at a similar speed. In this scenario, the body will develop strength and endurance in specific muscles used when running at this speed on the flat, but other muscles might weaken. Over time this can exaggerate running technique faults and increase the risk of injury.

These exercises can be done 2-3 times per week for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repeats.

Hip Abduction

Lying on your side, keep your lower leg bent to offer stability. Roll your pelvis forwards to your buttocks is uppermost, and with your top leg in line with your body. Raise the top leg in an up and backward direction (to abduct and extend your hip), keeping your knee straight.

You should feel your gluteal muscles working at the side of your buttocks.

Clam

Lying on your side with both legs bend, 20º at your hip and 90º at your knee. Roll your pelvis forwards to your buttocks is uppermost. Lift your top knee up, keeping your feet together and on the floor and your pelvis rolled forwards.

You should feel your gluteal muscles working at the side of your buttocks.

Bridge

Lying on your back with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, and your knees bent to about 90º. Tilt your pelvis backward to flatten your back against the floor and lift your tailbone up, continue lifting your tailbone and pelvis to peel off the floor.

You should feel your hamstrings and gluteal muscles working at the back of your thigh and at your buttocks.

Romanian Deadlift

Standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, with slightly bend knees at less than 10º bend. Holding a weight in your hand, bend from your hips to bow forwards, keeping your back straight. Squeeze your buttocks and push your pelvis forwards, by straightening through your hips to return to standing.

You should feel your hamstrings and gluteal muscles working at the back of your thigh and at your buttocks.

Calf Raises

Standing on one leg with the ball of your foot on the edge of a step. Keep your knee straight while you lower your heel off the edge of the step, then lift your heel as high up as you can.

You should feel your calf muscles working at the back of your lower leg.

Iliotibial Band Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises for the iliotibial band are very important, but often mistakenly directed to the iliotibial band specifically. Iliotibial band syndrome is a painful condition of excessive compression of the iliotibial band, and underlying fat pad, at the lateral femoral condyle, on the outside of the knee. Stretching the iliotibial band can increase pressure in both areas, and for acute or irritable cases this can aggravate symptoms.

It can be more effective, with less risk of irritation to stretch the surrounding muscles, which the iliotibial band inserts into, such as the quadriceps, gluteals, hamstrings, hip flexor, and calf. Each stretch should be held statically for 45 seconds and repeated 3-6 times per day.

Quadriceps Stretch

Standing on one leg, reach to hold your affected leg by the ankle. Push your hip forward, your knee backward and try to pull your ankle as close to your buttock as you can, to feel a comfortable stretch along the front of your thigh.

Gluteal Stretch

Lying on your back with one knee bent to 90º with your foot on the floor. Take your opposite leg and cross your ankle over your thigh. Pull your planted leg towards your chest as far as you can, to feel a comfortable stretch through the back and outside of your hip in your gluteal muscles.

Hamstring Stretch

Sitting with one leg out in front of you, with a straight knee. As you straighten your back and lean forwards you should feel a stretch in the hamstring, at the back of your thigh of your outstretched leg.

Hip Flexor Stretch

Kneeling on the floor on one knee with the other leg stepped forwards, so you are in a lunge position. Keep your back straight and upright. Tilt your pelvis backwards, tucking your tailbone underneath you, then lean forwards into the lunge. You should feel the stretch in your hip flexor, at the front of the hip of the leg you are kneeling on.

Calf Stretch

Stand with the balls of both feet on the edge of a step. Hold on for balance. Lower your heels as far as you can, to feel a comfortable stretch in your calves at the back of your lower leg.

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling the muscles that surround the iliotibial band is much more effective than foam rolling the iliotibial band itself. The band is a thick band of connective tissue and therefore not able to be relaxed as muscles can. Additionally, applying pressure to the iliotibial band will increase the compression of the band and underlying fat pad against the lateral femoral condyle.

It is best to foam roll the muscles that the iliotibial band inserts into, such as the quadriceps, gluteals, hamstrings, hip flexor, and calf.

Find out the answers to Iliotibial Band Syndrome FAQs and What exercise can I do with Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

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