Iliotibial Band Stretches To Improve Knee Stability

Whether you’re a new runner or a serious runner who racks up the kilometres, there’s a good chance you’ve experienced pain on the outer side of your knees. This pain is usually due to a condition known as Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS), a problem which causes inflammation on the iliotibial band of the knees.

The good news is, one of the easiest ways you can combat ITBS is through stretching.

What is the iliotibial band?

If you’re feeling pain on the outer part of your knee, and the pain worsens while you’re running or going up and down the stairs, your iliotibial band might be to blame.

The iliotibial band is a ligament which runs from the outer part of the hip down to the outer part of the knee. It is responsible for keeping your knees and your hips stable, especially during explosive movements, such as running and jumping.

When it is inflamed, it causes ITBS, a common injury among runners, affecting from 7 per cent - 14 per cent of the running population. It often leads to hip pain and knee pain and if left untreated can become a chronic problem.

Iliotibial band stretches to improve knee stability

Most of us are already aware of the importance of stretching for your body – how it increases flexibility, circulation and mobility. But we can also probably admit we aren’t doing enough of it. 

Here are three iliotibial band stretches that will help you build stability and strength in your knees and your hips.

1. Clam Shell

  • Lie on your side with a slightly bend knees for both legs, making sure your heels are in line with your spine.
  • With your feet pressed together, slowly open and close your top leg like a clamshell. Your hips should stay in place while doing this stretch.
  • Repeat this movement for 10 - 15 repetitions.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

2. Side Leg Raise

  • Lie on your side with both legs straight.
  • Slowly lift your top leg to a 45 degree angle.
  • Slowly lower your top leg to initial position.
  • Repeat this movement for 10 – 15 repetitions.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

3. Seated Hip Rotation

  • Sit with your legs extended out in front of you.
  • Cross one leg over the other leg, bending your crossed leg and straightening your other leg on the floor.
  • Rotate your body to look over the shoulder on your crossed leg side.
  • Hold your body in this position for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

At the end of the day, it’s better to prevent something from happening than to deal with it after it has happened.

Make sure to always stretch during warm up and cool down when exercising.

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