Movement Strategies for IT Band Pain

by Nov 7, 2018IT Band, Mobility, Pain

IT Band pain is a pretty common problem that is usually prescribed some type of foam rolling or stretching.  The problem with that approach is the fact that all the foam rolling and stretching in the world isn’t actually going to give you any long-term relief.

The IT Band is meant to be tough.  That band is so strong, they’ve actually taken them off cadavers and pulled trains with them.  I know crazy right?  Just by hearing that information, you can probably get that stretching and foam rolling aren’t really going to do much for you, besides maybe change the sensory information coming in.

A better approach is to get all the joints above and below your problem area working better.  Why?  Because your IT Band is sending a signal of pain or “tightness” to your brain.  That is a signal to change something.  In our world, we think about why is the nerve sending that signal, where is the signal coming from, and finally where is it going.

What should you do then?

Quite simply, we are going to make the joints the IT Band attaches to work better so it can send better signals.  We are also going to make the joints above and below the IT Band area (that are connected) work better too.

In this approach, we are going to start at the feet and work up.  Your job is to perform each exercise with intention and control while assessing and re-assessing after each exercise.

Why assess and re-assess?  Because we need to see what gives you the best result.  If your pain, tightness or discomfort goes down, then the exercise you did before that should go into a bucket which will be all your “rehab” exercises.  If the exercise doesn’t make a change or makes you worse then here’s your workflow for that:

  1. Watch the video again and make sure you performed the exercise correctly, then try it again.
  2. If it still doesn’t work, then put that in a bucket of drills that you shouldn’t do right now.

From the spine down to the hip, these are the exercises and joints you’ll be working:

  1. Lateral Ankle Tilts – Lateral portion of the ankle joint.
  2. Forward 45 Lunge Knee Circles – Full range of the knee joint.
  3. Rehab Hip Circles – Full range of the hip joint.
  4. Pelvis Tucks/Tilts – The pelvis and sacrum.
  5. Opposite Scapular Camshafts – The shoulder (blade) joint opposite of the IT Band issue.


Watch this simple, systematic approach you can take to alleviate your IT Band discomfort.

Cues to remember while doing any joint mobility sequence:

  1. Lengthen up tall, with your eyes forward.
  2. Neutral Spine and Hips as you perform the exercise.
  3. Always breathe in a relaxed, comfortable manner.
  4. Never move into pain.
  5. If painful, slow down and decrease range of motion.
  6. Quality over quantity.  That means, control the movement as best you can.

Need help?  Just reach out!


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