Stretching the Iliotibial Band

By Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Las Vegas Informer

Stretch the iliotibial band and its surrounding muscles to decrease tension in the lateral thigh.

The iliotibial band, or iliotibial tract, is not a muscle. It is a long fibrous structure with no stretch receptors. Hence it is difficult to stretch. You must rely on the stretch felt in the surrounding muscles to measure the length of the stretch.

The iliotibial band is located on the outer, or lateral, aspect of the thigh. Its functions include stabilizing the knee while standing, preventing inward rotation of the knee and assisting in knee flexion and hip abduction.

Tightness in the iliotibial band may result in postural abnormalities and pain in the knee, thigh and hip. Tightness in the iliotibial band is a precursor to several painful and performance limiting conditions. These conditions include iliotibial band syndrome and patello-femoral syndrome.

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is common among athletes, especially runners. The pain is located over the boney prominences of the lateral thigh. The tight iliotibial band rubs against the boney prominences. The resultant friction can cause pain throughout the entire lateral thigh.

Patello-femoral syndrome (PFS) is nicknamed runner’s knee. It is the most common knee condition among runners. The pain is located either directly behind the patella or vaguely around the patella. The tight iliotibial band and tight vastus lateralis muscle overpower the muscles in the medial thigh. The strength imbalance leads to incorrect patella motion and pain.

Stretch the lateral thigh to decrease tension in the iliotibial band. Prevent and manage ITBS and PFS by stretching the lateral thigh. The iliotibial band does not contain stretch receptors therefore pay particular attention to the stretch in the surrounding muscles.

The following muscles are located next to or insert into the iliotibial band: The vastus lateralis is the outer head of the quadriceps. The bicep femoris is the outer most hamstring muscle. The tensor fascia latae is an anterior hip and thigh muscle that inserts into the iliotibial band. The gluteus maximus is the large gluteal muscle that inserts into the iliotibial band.

Never stretch a cold muscle. Combine self massage and foam rolling to increase the effectiveness of lateral leg stretching. When performing a pre-workout warm-up execute dynamic motions before your static stretches.

Lie on your side on a training table or firm mattress. You can use the floor if a training table or firm mattress is not available. Slide as close to the edge as safety allows. The upper leg is being stretched. Bend the knee of your upper leg, exhale and let the entire leg hang forward off the table in front of your body. Maintain a leg position where the knee and foot point toward the wall, not the floor.

Let gravity pull the leg downward, don’t push it down. Hold a comfortable stretch for twenty to sixty seconds. Perform three to four repetitions for each side.

Stretch the lateral leg to decrease tension in the iliotibial band and its surrounding muscles. Reduce tension in the iliotibal band to prevent and better manage iliotibial band syndrome and patello-femoral syndrome. Combine foam rolling, self massage and dynamic motions with stretching to increase its effectiveness.

Dr_Donald_A_Ozello_thumb_medium150_Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is the owner and treating doctor at Championship Chiropractic. 6445 S. Tenaya Way, Suite #120, Las Vegas, NV 89113.  His web address is www.ChampionshipChiropractic.com. He can be contacted at (702) 286-9040 and DrO@ChampionshipChiropractic.com.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello’s mission is to educate and inspire others to live healthier, fitter, more functional lives.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC proudly handles Standard Process Supplements and Foot Levelers Orthotics.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC writes a weekly health, fitness and nutrition column for the Las Vegas Informer. His is published in OnFitness MagazineLiveStrong.ComSpineUniverse.com andEHow.com . He has educational health, fitness and nutritional videos on Informer TV and Livestrong.com.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is an award-winning public speaker. He has spoken to numerous groups on the importance of health, fitness, exercise, ergonomics, nutrition and injury prevention.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is a fitness enthusiast. Functional kettlebell training, running and bike riding are his favorite types of exercise.

Before pursuing his career in Chiropractic, Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Bremerton, SSN 698.

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