Strengthening Exercises for IT Band Syndrome

Strengthening exercises which may be used in the treatment of iliobitial band friction syndrome (ITB).


Muscles to strengthen

The following is for information purposes. We recommend seeking professional advice before beginning a rehab program. The hip abductor muscles especially tensor fasciae latae and gluteus medius muscles should be strengthened to help control the inward movement of the knee when running and walking. Inward movement of the knee increases the friction as the tendon rubs over the outside of the knee.

The gluteus medius muscle originates from the outer surface of the ilium bone of the pelvis and inserts into the greater trochanter of the femur which is the bony bit on the outside of the hip.

The tensor fascia latae muscle originates on outer surface and top of the ilium bone and inserts via the iliotibial band into the outside of the shin bone under the knee.

Heel drop

This exercise strengthens the muscles that stabilize the hips. Stand on one leg and slowly squat down on the affected leg as if you are going to step off the step. Don't let either side of the pelvis drops down. This should only be done if the knee is free of pain and inflammation. Perform two sets of as many as you can comfortably manage. Try to get the number in each set equal. Have a minutes rest in between sets. Gradually increase the number you perform, up to 3 sets of 15-20. Repeat the exercises every day.

Play heel drop exercise video.

Clam exercise

Lay on your side with the knees together and bent with the feet in line with your spine. Keep the feet together as you lift the top knee up as far as comfortable. Ensure you keep your back still and do not rotate backwards to increase the range. It may only be a small movement initially but this will improve as your strength increases. Start with 2 sets of 10 if you can , and gradually increase to 3 sets of 15-20.

Play clam exercise video.

Hip abduction

Use a resistance band wrapped around the ankle. Pull the leg out to the side, keeping the knee straight. Slowly return to the start position and repeat. Start with 2 sets of 10 and gradually increase to 3 sets of 15-20. Make sure the iliotibial band is stretched after performing this exercises. Doing too much of this exercise and not stretching out may actual shorten the tfl muscle.

Play hip abduction video.