Runners suffer from a variety of problems in the quest to sculpt their bodies into running machines. One of the most common overuse issues found among runners is IT band pain.

The iliotibial (IT) band is the ligament that runs from your pelvic bone and connects to your shin bones. When your IT band becomes inflamed from overuse, it creates painful sensations in your knee and hip, as well as overall tightness through your thigh.

Pain is the first indicator that there is a problem. To avoid attaining a full-blown injury, try these IT band stretches:

Standing Quadricep Stretch

The standing quadricep stretch helps to stretch all the muscles and ligaments in your quads. It also doesn’t require anyone’s help to do the stretch correctly.

To perform the stretch correctly:

  • Stand with your feet placed hip width apart.
  • Bend your left knee and bring your foot up behind you.
  • If possible, touch your heel to your glute, and hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on the opposite side.

If you have trouble finding your balance, hang onto your treadmill.

Quad stretch – NordicTrack

Twisted Triangle Stretch

For a more full-body stretch, the twisted triangle stretch will utilize your upper body core connections to your pelvis, which will loosen your IT band.

To perform the stretch correctly:

  • Stand as if you are going to perform lunges (one foot in front of you with the other foot behind you), but do not bend your knees.
  • Square your hips, and raise your arms from your sides to be level with your shoulders.
  • Twist 90 degrees at your waist towards your forward leg and extend your forward facing arm downward towards the floor. Your opposite hand should extend toward the ceiling.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
  • Switch legs, bringing your back leg forward, and repeat on the other side.

If you can place your hand flat on the floor, be sure you do that. It will increase the depth of your stretch. Do not do so if it strains you.

Twisted triangle stretch – NordicTrack

Partnered Reclined Stretch

If you have someone who can help you with your stretches, an excellent stretch for your IT band is the reclined stretch.

To perform this stretch correctly:

  • Have your partner positioned at your side, next to the leg you will be stretching.
  • Lie down and raise the knee of your leg closest to your partner until your leg forms a 90-degree angle.
  • Have your partner take your foot and knee in hand. Then have them gently push it across your opposite leg.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat on opposite side.

Reclined stretch – NordicTrack

Be sure to communicate with your partner when you would like them to stop pushing your leg. Too much applied pressure can injure your leg. This stretch can be performed alone, but having a partner apply the movement allows you to passively stretch without working surrounding muscles. If the other muscles engage, you may get less out of the stretch.

If you take 5 minutes daily to run through these stretches a few times, they can help you avoid injury to your IT band.