Iliotibial Band Stretching Exercises

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Standing iliotibial band stretchIliotibial band stretching exercises are an important part of the treatment and prevention of Iliotibial band syndrome. Stretching should be done regularly at least twice a day initially while recovering from injury. Both static stretches and partner assisted muscle energy technique stretches can be beneficial.

The following guidelines are for information purposes only. We recommend seeking professional advice before attempting rehabilitation.

Standing stretch

This static stretch for the iliotibial band can be done by the athlete themselves.

Place the leg you want to stretch behind the other one. Keep the foot on the floor and push your hips out to the other side until a stretch is felt in the outer hip. You may also feel a stretch down the outside of the thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, repeat 5 times and do this at least three times a day. It is important not to bounce when stretching, always ease into it gently and try to relax. If you need to, lean forwards on to a table to help with balance, or to increase the stretch.

Partner stretch

Partner stretch for ITBThis is probably the most effective stretch for the iliotibial band and tensor fascia latae muscle but it does require some assistance. Lie on your back and let the partner or therapist lift the non stretching leg out of the way then pull the stretching leg across to feel a deep stretch on the outside of hte hip. This stretch can be performed statically by taking the stretch as far as possible and holding for 30 seconds.

It can also be done in the form of a muscle energy technique. The patient attempts to push the bottom leg against resistance contracting the muscles being stretched at approximately 25% of maximum effort for 10 seconds. They then relax and the therapist increases the stretch as far as it will go before the contraction is repeated. This is continued for 4 or 5 times or until no further gains are achieved.

Tensor fascia latae stretch

TFL stretchThis stretch lengthens the tensor fascia latae muscle which is found on the outside of the hip. The IT band is almost like a long tendon which extends from this muscle, down to the knee. The athlete sits on the floor with one leg out straight. The leg to be stretched is bent and the foot placed on the outside of the other knee as shown. They then use their hands to apply a pressure as if trying to pull the bent knee across the other one. Hold for 30 seconds and relax. Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Play video of lateral hip stretching exercise.

Glute stretch

Gluteal stretchLay on your back with one leg flat on the floor. Pull the other knee up to your chest. Then pull it across your body until you feel a stretch in the buttock and outer hip. Hold for 30 seconds.

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