Written by Matthew Henderson, Physical Therapist
First you need to understand our main objective: Reducing tension on the IT Band. This will allow inflammation to settle down and healing to begin.
With that in mind, minimize activities that exacerbate your pain (running, biking etc.) Even just a few days of rest can help jump start joint recovery.
ICE OR HEAT
If you notice swelling, go with ice instead of hot packs (instructions on exercise link below.)
Also begin a targeted IT Band exercise program. For best results, make sure you address both strength and flexibility. Luckily you don't have to figure out which exercises to perform, our PT's have done it for you! (See the exercise option below.)
Try to do your exercises a few times a day. You can cycle down as the pain diminishes.
WHAT TO EXPECT
These strategies should lead to noticeable improvement within a week.
BACK TO ACTION
Once the pain eases, slowly return to your normal activities. Let pain be your guide. If it hurts, back off!
NOT IMPROVING FAST ENOUGH
Check back in and I'll connect you with a licensed physical therapist in your area.
-- Check with your doctor or local physical therapist prior to initiating a new exercise program --
Quad/IT Band Stretch
The quadriceps and IT band are located on the front and outer thigh. When tight, they add strain on the outer knee joint, often leading to irritation and pain.
The hamstrings are located on the back of your knee(s). Tight hamstrings place excessive strain on the knee joint, increasing IT band tightness and pain.
Short arc quads
IT Band: Foam Roll
This exercise can be a bit uncomfortable, but VERY effective at improving IT Band mobility and reducing outer knee pain.
The quadriceps are some of the most important functional muscles in the body. When weakened, instability and pain often occurs.
The gluteus medius is located on the outer hip. It may seem strange to target the outer hips for knee pain, but research shows strengthening this region is key to reducing IT band tension and pain.
Swelling can restrict knee range of motion, decrease strength and slow the healing process. Icing combined with rest and therapeutic exercises can jump start your recovery.