IT Band Stretch

Tight or inflamed IT bands can cause major problems. Here’s how to keep yours healthy

IT Band Stretch

Source: Best Health magazine, October 2013; Illustration by Kagan McLeod

The iliotibial (IT) band is a thick layer of connective tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh from hip to shin, attaching to the knee and helping to stabilize and move the hip and knee joints. If it is tight, it can cause major problems. When runners think they have knee issues, it might actually be a tight or inflamed IT band. Anyone who stands for long periods can experience it, too.

‘To stretch the IT band, you need to strengthen and stretch the muscles that are around it’particularly the glutes, hamstrings and quads,’ says Tim ‘Janzen, a registered massage therapist and clinical supervisor for the Niagara Women’s Half Marathon post-race clinic.


Lie on your left side. Bend your right leg back while also reaching behind to pull your right heel against your bottom. Drop right knee toward the floor. Keep your spine neutral; don’t ‘bounce’ that leg’it should feel like a gentle pull. Next, place your left foot on top of your right knee as shown, and gently press it toward the floor. Hold for seven deep breaths. Switch sides and repeat.

If you have severe tightness, you should see a specialist to get the tissue massaged.

This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!