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Knee Pain? Start Doing These Exercises ASAP

Feb 25 2014 - 12:01am

As many a runner (including me!) can confirm, your iliotibial (IT) band, a thick band of tissue that runs from your hips to your knee and shin on the outer side of each leg, should not be ignored. Tight IT bands can lead to ITBS or IT band syndrome [1], which manifests as pain on the outside of the knee cap and can make it hard — or impossible — to stick with your running hobby.

Whether you're well-versed in IT band-related pain or are just hoping you never have to experience it, specific exercises can help relieve pain and keep your IT band happy. These 13 stretches and exercises focus on loosening your IT band and strengthening quads, hips, and glutes in order to ensure you never have to skip a run because of ITBS again. If you're experiencing ITBS-related knee pain, remember to ice until the swelling goes down, rest, and skip any of these exercises if they are too painful on your knee.

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

Glute Foam Rolling

Tight glutes can pull on the IT band and adversely effect the alignment of the hips and knees, so keep glutes loose with regular foam rolling.

IT Band Foam Rolling

When the IT band gets tight, it can pull the knee out of alignment, causing pain and inflammation in the joint.

Cross-Legged Stretch

This IT band-loosening stretch is great to do after a run.

Wall Stretch

You'll feel this stretch in your upper thighs as well as your calves.

Single-Leg Balance Touch

This exercise really works the deep glutes while challenging your core and sense of balance.

Standing IT Band Stretch

Side-Lying Leg Lift

Target the glute meds, which are often weak in those with knee issues, with this move.


The clam targets the glute meds and helps build hip control. See the clam in action here [2].

Single-Leg Bridge Lift

Modifying the classic bridge into a single-leg move helps strengthen hips as well as glute muscles.

Squat Walks With Resistance Band

Squat walks are an excellent way to strengthen your IT band.

Source: Megan Wolfe Photography [3]

Bulgarian Split Lunge

This is a great move for your glutes, while also working your quads, hamstrings, and calves.

Source: Megan Wolfe Photography [4]

Side Lunge

This lunge variation is another exercise that targets the glute meds.

Source: Megan Wolfe Photography [5]

One-Legged Wall Sit

The classic wall sit [6] is a great way to strengthen quads; doing this variation will help you recognize and treat body imbalances as well. Start with both legs on the floor and work your way up to this one-legged version as you get stronger.

Source: Megan Wolfe Photography [7]

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