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IT band stretches to treat knee and hip pain

Last Modified: September 09, 2022

Sports & Exercise

This post was written by Lauryn Darnall, ATC, certified athletic trainer, Parkview Sports Medicine.

Are you an active individual who’s had hip or knee pain? It could possibly be Iliotibial Band Syndrome, or IT Band Syndrome. This is a common injury caused by repetitive bending of your knee (running, cycling, hiking, walking long distances, etc.). 

Your IT band is a thick bunch of fibers that runs from the outside of your hips to the outside of your thigh and knee down to the top of your shinbone. If this bundle of fibers becomes too tight, it can lead to swelling that will cause pain in your knee. Treating this injury requires time and rehabilitation. No surgery is needed. 


Symptoms of this injury include pain on the outer side of your knee, just above the joint. You may notice this pain comes and goes during your warmup. As the injury prolongs, it will start to get worse during exercises.

Other symptoms include:

  • Aching, burning or tenderness on the outside of your knee
  • Feeling a click, pop or snap on the outside of your knee
  • Pain up and down your leg
  • Warmth and redness on the outside of your knee

To help prevent IT band pain:

  • Allow plenty of time to properly stretch, warm up and cool down
  • Give your body enough time to recover between workouts or events
  • Run with a shorter stride
  • Run on flat surfaces or alternate which side of the road you run on
  • Replace your shoes regularly
  • Stretch your IT band, hip muscles, thigh muscles and hamstrings often
  • Use a foam roller to loosen up your IT band

Below are some stretches you can complete to help treat and prevent IT band pain. Please note the notes regarding frequency.

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IT band

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