T Nation

IT Band Help

Wondering if anyone has suggestions for IT band issues. Way back in college I jacked mine up overtraining. Its weird as its more common in long distance runners…but out of all the injuries Ive had in my lower body (tore both hamstrings, tore medial head of calf, pulled groin off bone, evulsion fracture in one hip, stress fracture in other hip, torn ligs in ankle, etc), the IT band is the WORST long term…the others Ive managed to work around all these years and recover. But my IT bands are horrendous, Im talking sometimes 9 out of 10 on the pain scale, a horrible deep aching and sometimes throbbing pain in the upper middle part of my IT (especially on long drives, I have to stop and stretch for half hour to even be able to drive).

The only way to settle it is either lay off (man thats too hard to do!), or weekly deep tissue/active release which I cannot afford. Stretching helps a little.

I feel like I wish someone could just cut the thing out sometimes! Monday I did higher rep deadlifts with 350 which dont hurt it as bad, today I finished up front squats with 405x3 rock bottom, and now Im aching like mad and serious pain. Its not even my quads or glutes that get sore, just my IT bands but especially one side. I still manage to up my squats and cleans each week, but the pain never goes away.

I feel your pain. I’ve had acl reconstruction and lateral meniscus repair, but the only thing that still hangs around is the goddamn IT band problem!

Try the following:

active release on IT band. (roll on a foam roller , medicine ball or large diameter PVC. It is going to hurt like crazy but over time it wwill help release it.)

Band abductions 2 sets 20 reps
Hip extensions 2 sets 20

The reason I suggest these 2 exercises is to make sure the Glutes are firing.
Do these exercises before leg work. you may need to adjust your weights after performing these.

great ideas, I myself use the foam roller and it hurts like crazy, but by the time I’m finished rolling out each leg it feels great and then I’m ready to go.


Consider trying the following -

While standing approximately arms length from a wall, cross the leg closest to the wall in front of the other such that your legs look like an X from either the front or rear views. Gradually transfer your weight toward the wall, leaning into the hip away from the wall. You may want to place your hand on the wall for balance. This stretches the hip and the associated IT band. Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds. Rotate directions and stretch the other hip and IT band. Because this is so easy, it can be done several times throughout the day.

Likewise, try direct ice massage to the IT band and hip area. Freeze water in a paper or styrofoam cup. Peel the edge of the cup off as needed to expose the ice. Gently kneed and massage the tender area for 10 minutes at a time. Repeat as often as possible throughout the day.

Also take 600 mg of an anti-inflamatory (ibuprofen) three or four times a day to decrease swelling in the effected area and improve blood flow.

Once the tenderness is gone, continue with the stretching on a regular basis, especially pre and post running, lifting of legs, etc.

I had some issues with my IT band before. My message therapist took care of it before it got really bad.

I have been having IT band problems for 2 years now. Mine are from squatting (powerlifting). The only things that work for me is to stretch every day and to perform the foam roller massage. The orthopedic surgeons have looked at it an see no abnormal patellar tracking.

I get told that I should stretch 3 times per day. I can keep working out as they say no permanent structural damage will come of it.


THANKS everyone! Yea I need to invest in the foam roller thing and grunt and bear the pain…deep tissue when I can afford it…and for sure if there is one thing I skip these days its stretching post workout…which a few hours later Im home twitching in pain in my IT from not stretching!

You can also use a large diameter piece of PVC or a basketball. I have also used a softball.

I hope you find the right combination of therapy to afford you some relief. I totally agree with all the suggestions given in response to your plea for help. I thought I might just add one tiny thing that may help you train and not pay too heavy a price. Since whatever you are doing now and & have in the past has not alleviated your symptoms, why not change your mechanics slightly. Stance width, angle of feet, bar placement, heel lift/heeled boot or shoe/plate or board under heels, box squat, are some changes you might consider if not already having done so. Do not change everything at once; you will never know which varaible did the trick. Try them all solo before combining them. Have someone look at your form; check for signs of imbalances; faulty mechanics, etc. Someone who is not familiar with you may be the best bet - someone totally objective. If no one fits the bill, have a partner video movements and post for input and critique from forum. Good Luck & Happy Holidays

I have similar serious problems w/ hip pain, seemingly related to my IT band and a few other issues. Here’s what I’ve figured out that works for me-

1). Windmills- nice IT/glut range of motion resistance exercise
2). Hip flexor mobility work- scorpions do me a world of good
3). Unilateral leg exercises- split squats, split jerks, lunges, and step ups. If I finish a workout with a few rounds of these, even w/ just bodyweight, my pain is much better
4). Band pull aparts with the knees- activating the glut medius and IT band using these seems to help, particularily followed by
5). Balancing on a medicine ball- instead of a foam roller, I’ll use my 12lb MB to do some deep tissue release- also a good base/top game drill if you grapple.

Just started doing lateral trunk flexion extensions from ‘Exercises you haven’t tried #14’ these seem like they’re gonna become a staple.

Hope this helps, hip pain sucks.


Mine gets tends to be bad if I go running or biking when I haven’t gone in a while. Squats actually seem to help mine, though I usually stay around 35 total reps in a given workout.

Things that will help:

As above, foam rollers. You can try tennis balls too.

Stretching before and after every workout. The before stretch should be dynamic, mainly to help loosen things up and get blood to the area before performing exercise.

Stretching afterward should be static. I’ve been told by therapists, to stretch for 40 seconds, stop, and then stretch for 40 more seconds. I believe someone already mentioned some good stretches above, so I won’t repeat those.

thanks! Ill have to look up some of those exercises I dont know. And stop skipping out on stretching afterwards. I did lots of hurdle work after the speed ladder to warm up today. Hurdle drills seem to help warm it up alot and get me through a workout. I hit 500x3 squats today so Im sure Ill be feeling some major pain tomorrow. Im going to look into finding an ART massage in this area, and maybe stop by a chiropractor.

My right IT band started acting up in the past few months due to squatting- I found chiro to relieve joint compression in my ankles to help as well as tons of calf stretches. I also worked on my plantar on that side. Seemed as tho addressing the problem from the bottom up did the trick. Now at least I can stay on top of the tightness with regular stretching.

Do you all ever have the problem where the IT band actually screws with your knees? I feel like my IT band got really tight while doing 10 x 3 squats and now before doing anything related with knees I have to stretch out my hips and legs for ages. I use a theraband and am going to try the foam rolling, should I try to find an ART person?


If something as simple as driving is taking you to a9 or 10 on the pain scale, this goes way beyond what a stretching and workout alterations will be able to do. I have this problem but nowhere near a 9 or 10. Nothing I did had any effect, including all of the recommendations above. Not that they won’t help, they just didn’t help me.

I will admit that maybe my pain was higher on other people’s scales than the 5 or 6 it seemed like to me as I also reported 5 or 6 with a fully torn MCL and a broken hand on two seperate occasions. My reference for 9 or 10 is not being completely knocked out for my wisdom teeth extraction (I was kind of catatonic) and feeling every bit of it, including the part where they actually split my teeth in half.

So, that is to say, my 5 or 6 may have been worse relative to that experience.

My actual point of concern would be that normal activity is causing this much pain. Even with my background being in Physical Therapy, I would recommend seeing a doctor of physical medicine also known as a physiatrist. They did all kinds of deep tissue, flexibility, ultrasound, infrared, chiro, you name it- all to no avail. I finally had what is known as an interventional block done.

They basically inject the injured area with a local anesthetic (mine was marcain) and then do the massage, stretching, strengthening, etc. This was done a few times and finally cleared things up.

Again, these are medical doctors and most insurance wil cover it. If you would like, pm me and I will talk to my doc and see if he can refer someone in your area.

I couldnt find the PM link to you but I would like to touch base. I have a SUPER high pain tolerance but this is the worst with this IT band stuff…after a week of SWAT training in the snow rolling around ice on pavement, dropping to kneeling, sitting, prone, roll over prone, and having to sprint and then do various positions making shots in 3 seconds double tap steel, both ITs are killing again and making it feel like my patella tendons are sore too…

As far as pain, maybe Im getting old and soft. But in high school I played my senior year with a L2 stress fracture, broken hand, and broken ankle (new cast on ankle each week then shoe taped to it, brace for back, and surgery post season rebreaking the hand and putting 3 fingers back into place). I also played my junior HS season with mono not knowing it till the last game where the docs said I was lucky my spleen didnt blow and they didnt know how i made it that far.

In middle school I had an evulsion fracture on my left hip and went without going to doctor for a while, and 9th grade stress fracture in my right hip where the ham attaches and played the entire basketball season with it until baseball season where i couldnt take the pain anymore…they put me in body cast that I cut off myself in 3 weeks since i couldnt stand it…during my college playing years at various times I tore both hamstrings and came back to play, tore the medial head of my calf where it rolled up and they said Id never run again (came back for 5th season and had a great season with near 150 tackles), I dislocated a shoulder where they said Id need surgery and didnt get it but still played, dislocated it again in grad school doing jujitsu, when I got all the MRIs, X-rays, they said my capsule is broken front and rear, detached ligaments, hooked clavicle, and spurs in my AC joint (due to years of olympic and power lifting possibly plus football), and Ive yet to get surgery on it even though doc said someday Ill have to (and I still hang clean 335, squat in the 500’s but have to hold wide on the plates or my shoulder kills if i grip the bar, close grip 315 for reps), Ive pulled part of my groin off the bone ( I forget the technical doctor stuff about it), had a tear in a bicep, tear in a quad, and probably more to the list of soft tissue injuries I dont recall at this hour but still never quit training for long periods or missed a football season other than when the calf went south.

So I think my pain tolerance is pretty high. I work around all the old injuries, but these IT bands just never seem to go away and yes even driving or getting out of a car at times kills them, mostly the right side but the left hurts too. It starts deep in the upper middle part of the quad, and works its way down to making my knees ache really bad if I dont stand up and walk around and stretch. I pray this doesnt mean that there is something worse wrong with me, or that I need to back off squatting heavy for a bit till it subsides?

Most of my injuries never happened while playing sports, but I think were due to overtraining. These days I dont think I over train because frankly I dont have the time. I work long hours (12-18) and some weeks go with no days off, and what days I have off I coach at a local college and facilitate a prayer group for athletes. So I dont think Im still overtraining at this point, but paying the price for the years I did. In college they always questioned me if I was on the juice and would test me, always saying all these soft tissue injury prone issues were indicative of the sauce, but I never was on. I just trained like madman and downed every legal supplement at hand. I cant call it quits and go to a “normal” fitness style routine! That would kill me!

Thanks for the help! Please PM me if the link works for you!