Runners with Knee Pain? It could be IT Band Syndrome!

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Are you suffering from an annoying pain on the outside of your knee? This is a common symptom that runners, cyclists, or any similar activity suffer from! Although some believe that IT Band Syndrome is felt as a pain running up and down the side of your thigh, it isn’t. Your IT Band (Iliotibial band) is a thick sheet of connective tissue that attaches the muscles of your leg to your hip and to the side of your knee. The pain you are feeling is coming directly from the friction between your IT band and the bone of your knee. This pain only increases as your muscles and IT band become more tense.

Couple Running

For most runners, the repetition of bending and straightening your knee while your IT band is tense causes the annoying pain you are suffering from. The key isn’t to limit or stop the movement of bending and straightening your leg, but it’s about the tension of your IT band! Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, wants you to know 3 exercises that can help ease your pain:


  1. Resisted side steps – Place a resistance band around your feet and knees. With a slight bend in your knees (similar to a squat position) step laterally to your right and then to your left until you are fatigued.
  2. “Fire-hydrants” –  Position yourself in a “table-top position” where your hands are placed on the ground and your two knees are placed on the ground. Extend your knee out to the side while maintaining a L-shape with your knee. Alternate legs until fatigued.
  3. IT Band stretch – With your hands on your hips, cross your left foot over your right. Then extend your hip towards the left side (laterally) until you feel a stretch. Then alternate legs and cross your right foot over your left foot, and extend your hip towards the right side until you feel a stretch.


At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, our expert physical therapists will create a personalized plan of exercises such as these! By combining these exercises with manual therapy and KT taping, you will be back to running miles and miles again!

Call Walker Therapy and Pain Center to schedule an appointment! (714)997-5518

1111 W Town and Country Road Ste 1

Orange, CA 92868

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