Jim2's Running Page

ITB Stretches

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I use two ITB stretches....one for the knee and one for the hip. They were recommended to me by the Union Memorial Hospital's Sports Medicine Clinic in Baltimore, MD the two times I went to them with ITB problems.

The ITB stretch for the knee is simply cross-legged toe touches. Stand erect and cross your legs just below the knee with your right leg in front, your right foot on the outside of your left foot and your toes pointed forward. Then, bend from the waist to try to touch your toes. Bend until you feel a stretch along the outer side of your upper right leg. I can't quite touch my toes (as you get older, you lose flexibility), but I can reach my shoelaces. You should feel the stretch in your ITB alongside the right knee. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds. It's OK to flex your knees slightly. In fact, I flex my knees a little, bend from the waist as far as I can, then "push" my knees back to as near vertical as I can until I feel a good stretch on my outer knee. Repeat with your left leg in front to stretch your left ITB. I stretch each leg twice after every run. This stretch also stretches the hamstrings.

The stretch for the hip is a little more complicated to describe. Sit on the floor with your back erect and your legs straight in front of you and flat on the floor. Now, bend and raise your right knee, cross your right leg over your left and place your right foot flat on the floor alongside your left knee and parallel with your left leg with your toes pointed forward. Twist your shoulders and upper torso toward the right and place your left elbow on the outside of your right knee. Push your right knee toward the left with your left elbow as you continue to rotate your upper torso to the right until you feel the stretch deep in your right buttock. Keep your back straight and erect. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds. Reverse everything to stretch the left leg. Again, I repeat each leg a second time.

As with all stretching, the stretches should be just firm enough to "feel the stretch", but should not cause pain. No bouncing! Just steady pressure.