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Exercises to Help IT Band Injuries
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For those of you who have been reading for a while, you know that my IT Band has been causing me a lot of issues over the years.

The IT Band, or Illiotibial Band, “a thick band of fascia on the lateral aspect of the knee, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, as it moves from behind the femur to the front of the femur during activity. The continual rubbing of the band over the lateral femoral epicondyle, combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during running may cause the area to become inflamed.” Thank you, Wikipedia.

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Looking back, it was a problem when I was in college but at the time I thought it was a knee problem. It has popped up periodically since I started running but never with such force as it did a couple weeks after the Chicago Marathon and since then it’s been keeping me out of distance running.

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I’ve seen many physical therapists, taken off several months and tried just about any “quick fix” that I could find. My biggest issue? I’m not consistent enough with foam rolling, stretching and exercises. Yes, I foam roll and stretch every time I run but I don’t always put a lot of time into it. Some runners rarely stretch and are fine, but I need a solid 10-15 minutes of stretching post-run plus foam rolling before and after. It’s time consuming and I let it fall by the wayside only to have my IT Band flare up again.

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I’ve finally admitted this to myself and come to accept that if I want to run, I have to add in the extra 30-40 minutes a day for stretching, foam rolling and exercises. To help myself out, I wrote down an exercise schedule based on things given to me by personal trainers and then split them in two: workouts A and workouts B. I alternate between A & B each day, taking one day off entirely a week.



Since I know many people deal with muscle imbalances in their legs, I thought I’d share my A & B workouts with you. Each one takes about 15 minutes and can easily be done first thing in the morning, or while watching TV in the evening.

IT Band Exercises

Here are links to each of the exercises:

Single Leg Squat

Side Walking Squats

Hip Raise (aka glute bridge)

Side Leg Lifts (can have legs straight or bent, also called Clamshells)

Donkey Kicks

Single Leg Bench Squats (I just sit and then use both feet to stand up, my PT said work up to being able to sit and stand on one leg)

 

Do you do any daily exercises?

Have you ever been to a physical therapist?

How do you deal with injury?



 

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