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How to Fix IT Band Syndrome For Good

Discussion in 'Injury Recovery and Prevention' started by Zillagreybeard, Jan 27, 2022.
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Zillagreybeard
Zillagreybeard
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How to Fix IT Band Syndrome For Good
The Solution Isn’t What You Were Told
by Dr Tim DiFrancesco

THE STABBING PAIN OF IT BAND SYNDROME
Even the best training plan can get disrupted when a case of IT band syndrome (or ITBS) sinks its fangs into your lateral knee. I often work with lifters and runners who have what feels like an icepick stabbing the outside of their knee with each step. Sounds dramatic, but that’s commonly how it’s described.

It can be unsettling when you sense a case coming on, like an indication of a more serious injury. It often creeps in as an annoying hot spot just above the outside of your knee, but then it can quickly flare up into searing pain with each step as you flex and straighten your knee. Going downstairs, running downhill, or stepping laterally can be especially uncomfortable.

If you have sharp and burning pain slightly above the outside of the knee, this is often the signature of ITBS.

Here’s what causes it and how to fix it for good.

 

The key? Strengthening the lateral and posterior muscles of the hips. By loading and strengthening these muscles, you’ll create a better relationship between these muscles and your ITB.

This is important because the ITB is simply a thickening of the fascia stemming from the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and tensor fascia latae. So strengthening these muscles will help the ITB to do what it’s meant to do: act as a spring that conducts action and energy from the hip to the knee and eventually to the ground.

Again, grinding out the lower aspect of your ITB with a foam roller as it crosses the outside of your knee doesn’t make much sense, given that we’re most likely dealing with a compression of the adipose tissue in that area.

You also want to avoid a heavy focus on stretching for two reasons:

You can’t create a lasting stretch of the strong collagen fibers that make up the ITB.
Even if you could stretch the unforgiving tissue of the ITB, you wouldn’t want to. Doing so would disarm its ability to act as a springy spring!
Your approach should be focused on the necessary strengthening work. Then supplement with a sprinkle of passive strategies such as foam rolling and stretching, assuming you use these passive strategies logically.

Sure, a comprehensive approach to solving ITBS includes hip mobility and flexibility work alongside foam rolling. But stick to foam rolling the posterior and lateral muscles of the hip instead of grinding away on your lateral knee.

Here are the five key strengthening exercises that’ll help you fix your ITBS and end the pain.

1 KNEES-BENT SIDE PLANK WITH HIP LIFT

Stack your feet.
Bring your knees inline with your hips and shoulder.
Avoid sitting your butt back and instead drop your lateral hip to the ground.
Avoid arching through your low back.
Feel this in the lateral aspect of your hips and core.
Do this as a warm-up, cool down, or complement as a superset as you recover from other more intense exercises.
Try pairing with grip-intensive work.
Shoot for 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps.
2 SIDE PLANK WITH HIP LIFT

Stack your feet.
Bring your knees inline with your hips and shoulder.
Avoid sitting your butt back. Instead, drop your lateral hip to the ground.
Avoid arching through your low back.
Feel this in the lateral aspect of your hips and core.
Do this as a warm-up, cool down, or complement as a superset as you recover from other more intense exercises.
Try pairing with grip-intensive work.
Shoot for 2-4 sets of 8-15 reps.
3. Chain Side Plank

Stack your feet.
Bring your knees inline with your hips and shoulder.
Avoid arching through your low back.
Feel this in the lateral aspect of your hips and core.
Do this as a warm-up, cool down, or complement as a superset as you recover from other more intense exercises.
Try pairing with grip-intensive work.
Shoot for 2-4 holds of 15-20 seconds.
4 KETTLEBELL CURTSY LUNGE

Keep your chest proud.
Take a wide step across the midline of your body.
Feel this in the lateral hip of the front/stationary leg.
Do this as a lower-body superset and strengthener.
Shoot for 2-4 sets of 6-12 reps.
5 LANDMINE GOBLET CURTSY SQUAT

Keep your chest proud.
Take a wide step across the midline of your body.
Feel this in the lateral hip of the front/stationary leg.
Do this as a lower-body superset and strengthening

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