Iliotibial Band Rehab Exercises

Plan: Strengthen glutes while mobilizing the soft tissue of the hip and quad. 

Mobilizing: Every day you should be spending 5-10 minutes mobilizing the musculature of the hips and thighs. This could be rolling, stretching, trigger point work, etc. It doesn’t matter what particularly you are doing, just be diligent about making it a small part of your daily regimen. Do it before or after the exercises. If it is particularly sore one day, roll before the exercises. 

*Sidenote – foam rolling should not be done on the ITB itself. Release out the tissue of the hips and when rolling the lateral thigh, stay just anterior or posterior to the ITB. When you’ve found a trigger point, slowly flex and straighten the knee. Grin and bear it… You’ll thank me later.

IT Band Exercises

group of people working out and squatting with a kettle bell Each series of IT band exercises is broken up into phases of healing. As you continue to heal, you can integrate harder movements into the plan. You can break it up into weeks, but it is variable as some phases of healing take longer than others. The ultimate determinate in the progression is pain and performance, i.e how does it feel when you are running or going through taxing movements.

  • Phase 1: Pick 4 of the exercises from Progression 1 to perform 1x / day.
    • Since you’ve been resting it since the race, this shouldn’t be more than 4-6 days
  • Phase 2: 2 exercises form Progression 1 and 3 exercises from Progression 2
    • This should last 5-7 days. Hiking should be tolerable and mild pain with beginning running before progressing.
  • Phase 3: 4 exercises from Progression 2 and 1 exercise from Progression 3 
    • 10-15 days. Extensive hiking without pain, 3-4 miles with only mild pain before progressing.
  • Phase 4: 1 warm-up exercise from Progression 1, 2 exercises from Progression 2 and 3 exercises from Progression 3
    • 10 -12 days. Running should be getting easier and miles should be increased before progressing.
  • Phase 5: 1 warm-up exercise from progression 1, 4 exercises from progression 3
    • Perform until running is painless.

Progression 1 drills:

  • Side-lying Clams – 2x 12 bilaterally 
  • Side-lying straight leg raise (abduction and slight extension) – 2 x 12 bilaterally
  • Quadruped donkey kicks (maintain slight knee bend) – 2 x 12 bilaterally 
  • Standing door jamb hip drill – 2 x 20-second hold (go longer as strength develops).
  • Star drill on an unstable surface – 2 x 5 rounds. 

Progression 2 drills:

woman performing a split squat with her sports training

  • Split squat (with or without valgus bias. Add weight as needed) – 2 x 12 bilaterally. 
  • Box step down (short box or stair step. Add weight as needed) – (IG @dr.jacob.hardin)
  • Banded monster walks – 2 x 15 steps. 
  • Glute bridge with a single leg lower – 2 x 10. (lower on 3 counts) 
  • Hip abductor side plank – 2 x 10. (IG video @rehabscience)
  • Dropdown Squat (From 12”-16”) – 2 x 15 

Progression 3 drills:

  • Single leg squat on the box (Add band with a valgus bias to make harder. These can be with weight as well) – (IG video @theperformancedoc)
  • Dropdown squat – single-leg landing (knee should bend to 50 degrees upon landing) – 2 x 15  
  • Split squat with 5 second holds at the bottom. Heavy dumbbells. –  2 x 8 (@strengthcoachtherapy)
    • Or Rear foot elevated split squat (about 6-10 inches) with lighter weight
  • KB goblet squats – 2 x 12. (IG video @theperformancedoc)
  • KB Deadlift – 2x 12

*Valgus Bias – Strapping a band around your knee to pull it in towards the other knee (genu valgus). This forces you to use your glutes more to keep your knee tracking properly during the movement. This can be added to any exercise as you progress.

* KB – Kettle Bell

Note: This is not an exact science. These progressions are estimations AT BEST. You may take shorter or longer to move through to the next phase and may be able to do more or less than what I wrote down before you move to the next set. You can also easily add weight, reps, or more exercises to each phase as needed. 

Make an Appointment with an IT Band Doctor

To learn more about how we can help you recover from IT Band Syndrome or other injuries call our office in Knoxville and make an appointment. Set up a consultation with our IT Band doctor at (865) 337-5574


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