I don’t think it’s coincidence that I have had three different people contact me in the past week or so asking questions about dealing with IT band pain. I feel like this is a topic I am quite well versed in (unfortunately…) and so I wanted to share. I know I have done posts before on the foam roller and had a guest post on IT band exercises for strength and flexibility, but good old fashioned stretching can really help as well. Here are six things I try to do a couple of times a week. My IT band is currently behaving, but that can change so quickly, so I choose to be proactive. I hope these help some of you who have been struggling! oh, and the dogs wanted to help out, too…
Stretch 1: If your RIGHT IT band is the problem, stand with your right foot crossed behind your left and lean towards your left with either your arm in the air or your hands on your hips. Hold for 15-20 seconds, repeat. (follow this rule for all stretches mentioned)
Stretch 2: If your RIGHT IT band is the problem, sit on the floor with your left leg straight. cross your right leg over your left, and twist your body to the right, pushing against your right leg for resistance.
Stretch 3: Yoga has really helped me, especially the pigeon pose. If your RIGHT IT band is bothering you, put your right leg underneath your body with your left leg out straight behind you. use your arms to balance, and try to sink down as far as you can. Hurts so good! (By the way, I am finally getting slightly visible triceps, which is hard for my long muscles, yay!)
Stretch 4: Find something sturdy you can lean against, and put your hands on it. if your LEFT IT band is bothering you, use your right leg as the stabilizer leg, and slide your left leg out to the right behind your right leg and push/sink as far as you can.
Stretch 5: this involves a foam roller (and if you have IT band pain you DEFINITELY should own one of these anyway!) Lay your hip/leg on the side of the pain, put your other leg out in front to stabilize, and ROLL until you find a sore spot, then sit on that spot for several seconds.
Stretch 6: lay on the floor on your left side if your RIGHT IT band is bothering you. Put your right leg behind your body and hold your foot. Put your left foot/hell on top of your right knee, you should feel a deep stretch.
aw I got puppy kisses on that one. Melts my heart I tell ya.
A few key things to keep in mind if you are suffering with IT band pain. (This is based on my own personal experience, if you are having pain go see a doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, etc.)
1.) REST. I took 6 full weeks off of running when mine was at it’s worst. It won’t get better if you keep running through the pain. Trust me on this, I tried.
2.) Foam roll like it’s your job. It hurts, it sucks, but it will help loosen you up, or be proactive and use it a few times a week to keep problems at bay. A tennis ball works, too.
3.) Ice. Icing helped alleviate the swelling, especially at first when I was stupid and still running.
4.) Massage. I know actual sports massages are expensive, but if you can swing it, do it. If you can’t, get your spouse, friend, someone to do it for you, you have got to loosen it up somehow!
5.) Of course, stretch. A good stretching routine is something you should be doing anyway runners! (As I look in the mirror and tell myself…)
QOTD: Have you ever suffered with IT band pain? Any other helpful hints you can think of?