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IT Band Syndrome?

For maybe a month now my IT bands have been quite sore. I suspect it’s from all the hiking I was doing in December and January (probably 3x per week, work was slow). Certain lower body movements both it, particularly unilateral stuff, probably because of the lateral stability involved. Squatting doesn’t seem to be a huge issue, maybe some minor discomfort, but I can’t squat nearly what I was prior to the IT band pain though. I’m not sure if correlation = causation here, maybe it’s just coincidence.

Anybody had experience with this? What did you do? Currently rolling it out more often. Stretching just makes it hurt right now so I avoid that. I also try to avoid NSAID’s but if I need to take them I guess I will.

I had a terrible bout of IT syndrome last fall and later figured out it came from tight quads. I was doing a lot of prowler pushes at the time. Look for knots in the upper quad area at the top of the rectus femoris. They could be deep and hard to feel. I used a baton to roll them out. I also focused on stretching the quads and hams more between sets on lower body day. It was a real bitch for a while.

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Had a serious bout with ITB about 10 years ago, bad enough it drove me out of a military selection course. Don’t recall what I did then, aside from just taking time off from basically everything while stretching and working mobility (sucked).

Fast forward to present day and I just managed to avoid a repeat. I’ve been prepping for some physical events I have to do for a job interview, and progressed too quickly from just running a couple times a week (plus lifting) to adding sprint series several times a week in addition to the other. Had a couple ‘twinges’ (thought I was pinching something), then one really painful day and I knew exactly what it was.

Went the last week with no lower body lifting and no running of any kind, rode the bike and towed instead for conditioning work. Couple times a day, I did contrast therapy on the affected knee - 2:00 each of hot water from my handheld shower nozzle (hot as I could stand without blistering myself) and then a bag of ice, back and forth three times each session. I did some rolling of the TFL and peroneus longus, but no direct rolling on the ITB - from what I have been reading (a review of what little actual research is out there for this) rolling the IT band won’t do much since it is connected to the femur the entire length of the bone. In one study, they cut out cadaver bands intact and tried stretching them using a machine - best the could achieve was a 1mm difference in length. So if a machine can’t do it with the whole band removed, rolling isn’t going to do much. Some of the (limited) research even suggests it isn’t actually the IT band at all, but the side of the knee structure directly under it.

After taking the week off from all lower body and running (plus the therapy I mentioned), I ran today on the treadmill pain free (3 x 1/2 mile intervals @ 9mph).


I agree with these guys, Look above and below your IT Band for tightness/knots.

Try rolling out the outside of your calf, just below the knee.

Definitely try to find knots on your upper thigh, and around the front and side of your hip(tfl, glute med).

A lacrosse/tennis/ croquet ball can be better than the big foam roller to get into these small, dense, muscles.

You can also try some easy stuff like clam shells (or side planks) and McGill curl ups (or dead bugs) to get your glutes and abs cued up and working and take stress off those little muscles in the front of your hips.

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IT band issues suck! From what I’m reading I think your hip abductors are weak. A big hike can expose this kind of problem, so do unilateral exercises. Squats on the other hand don’t have to be a big problem, since that movement demands less hip stabilization.

Good chances are that those hip abductors have been tight since you had that hike, so tension on the IT band remains. My advise would be to stretch the hip abductors / IT band, strengthen them with some accentuated eccentrics or some isometrics (nothing heavy here, just to get them working), and finish of with some stretching/relaxationing again. Working solely the IT band usually doesn’t do much good. Do it as an extra, but only when it helps. Take care! :slight_smile:

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I’m currently battling a bad bout of this in my left leg. It feels like I’m being stabbed in the side of my knee. The PT stuff I looked up all says to strengthen the abductors. Reverse lunges and rear foot elevated split squats are a good place to start.

The funny thing for me is that I quit lifting legs due to hip pain. I was doing a lot of RFESS before I shut it down. The end result is that my hip still hurts and now I have IT band syndrome. RFESS and other unilateral training are back on the menu now.

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Do you not get any pain doing these? I can only do a limited range of motion, like maybe 2/3 to parallel, without pain/discomfort.

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I get pain during the reverse lunges and I do about 2/3 of the ROM. After a few sets I warm up and I can go deeper.

RFESS are pretty pain free for me. And they make my hip feel stronger which helps my knee.

Weird. Reverse lunges felt fine for me. Matter of fact, my IT bands have felt pretty good overal the last couple days despite not doing anything different. I’ll do some RFESS’s on Thursday and see how it goes.

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I’ve been doing both with body weight and added weight to RFESS yesterday. I’ve also done both with a band pulling my leg inward so I really have to engage the abductors. I attach the band to my rack at knee height and put it just above my knee.

I played basketball today for the first time since last Wednesday and I had very little pain and it only flared up a handful of times.

I’ve also been doing a couple sets of reverse band clams and side lying abduction.