IT Band & Knee Pain – Greg Schaible

One of the most common injuries I see in runners is IT band syndrome or lateral knee pain.

Many people try endlessly stretching and foam rolling this area in hopes to get relief. Instead what they get is sometimes temporary relief, but they always feel the need to stretch or foam roll the area because the problem keeps returning.IT Band Pain

Instead, find the source of the problem to fix it for good!

In the first video below we talk about why building medial (inside) strength of the hamstrings, but also the quads in order to limit the over-activity of the lateral musculature of vastus lateralis, bicep femoris, and the IT band.

Often the tone/stiffness experienced in the lateral knee is due to a poorly balanced workload across these muscles from an underlying bone/joint orientation tendency. Distributing this workload differently and using more medial musculature such as the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, gracilis, adductor magnus, and VMO can be game changer to change pain and improve your running pain free.

Now I know what you are thinking….I thought we were behind the “isolation” exercise days and the “VMO” days.

Simple open chain Isolation work is NOT what I am suggesting at all!
In the second video below, I show a sample rehab routine I’ve used time and time again to solve IT Band Pain for runners and athletes of all kinds. Of course there could be some differences in an athlete’s presentation that would impact what exercises are selected and all the exercises are performed as symptoms allow. But generally this is a good place to start with daily exercises to progress towards the return to sport preparation.
What you will notice is in a acute or sensitive knee we use easy/simple isolation work to progressively load the tissue in a very general manor as symptoms allow.
While this is occurring we use compound exercises with VERY specific cues and intentions which will orient the joints in a particular manor to shift them away from their biomechanic loading tendency and gives the muscles and joints a completely different loading experience.

Try these strategies the next time an athlete is complaining of IT Band Pain or Knee Pain on the lateral aspect of the knee.  Of course, there can always be other issues involved, but this approach has worked for many athletes and will hopefully allow you to get your athletes back on track.

Dr. Greg Schaible is a physical therapist and strength coach specializing in athletic performance and a regular contributor the the IYCA. Greg is the owner of On Track Physiotherapy and owner of the popular online education resource Sports Rehab Expert. Greg works with athletes and active individuals of all ages. As a former athlete himself, he attended The University of Findlay and competed in both Indoor and Outdoor Track & Field where he earned honors as a 5x Division II All-American and a 6x Division II Academic All-American.


Dr. Schaible was instrumental in putting together the completely updated version of the Youth Athletic Assessment Specialist 2.0 course that covers a wide range of screens, performance assessments, and advanced assessment techniques.  Learn more about the YAAS 2.0 by clicking the image below.

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