Iliotibial Band Syndrome, and How to Stretch it Out!
Your iliotibial (or IT) band is a muscle on the very outside of your thigh. It rests on the top of your other thigh muscles and stretches from the hip all the way into the knee. Stress in the IT band can also cause tension and pain in both of those locations.
Due to its tricky location, it can be very difficult to stretch. However, it is important to stretch this muscle out to relieve this tension. Doing so can also treat or prevent IT band syndrome if done properly.
The first thing you will need to do is grab a ball.
You will want to experiment with balls of various sizes, from golf balls to baseballs. I prefer the golf ball for my upper leg, the baseball for my lower leg, and a tennis ball for the upper hip where it connects to my abdomen.
Next, lay on your side. Prop your head up with a pillow if you need to.
Place the ball right on your hip, right on the hip bone, between you and the floor. You will be essentially laying on the ball on your side.
Now you will sort of grind the ball back and forth a bit by moving your hip.
You will probably feel a dull, consistent pain as you work out and break down scar tissue.
Move the ball to various points along the IT band, but focus near the hip and near the knee. Repeat the rubbing or grinding process.
It will take some trial and error as you learn how this exercise works. You might feel the ball rub right up to the IT band, sort of like a guitar string. Hold it there a second, then continue on. This will help you become more familiar with the IT band, and the stretch in general.
Experiment with different-sized balls, different spots on the IT band, and your position until you find what works best for you. I even recommend putting the balls in the freezer a few hours ahead of time for extra relief.