If you have IT Band Syndrome, you know that when it first occurs it is typically so intense that any activity beyond walking is unbearable. With rest alone the discomfort will reduce and you’ll be able to jump back into running and other activities however still feeling some pain when bending your knee or moving side to side abducting your hips. Assuming you don’t want this pain to continue, there are three key aspects to proper rehabilitation and long term maintenance.
Take 2-3 weeks to rest and get several tissue massages (self or professionally administered) to reduce muscle tension and stimulate blood flow. Foam rollers (picture) work great for IT Bands and many other stretching and balance exercises. If you don’t give your body time to mend good luck ever getting back to 100%.
Focus on gradually warming up and incorporating IT band stretches before any activity. A cold, stiff IT band is much more likely to result in injury especially if you have a history with this syndrome.
After activity make sure to stretch the IT band while it is warm and flexible following up with a 5-8 minute direct ice application to prevent inflammation.
I also recommend IT Band stabilizing braces like the Cho-Pat pictured here, which minimize rubbing against the thigh bone. Coupling this with a sound warm up will reduce the chance of re-injury.
If you’re reading this with IT Band pain good luck in your recovery. If you’ve never had IT Band pain I encourage you to prioritize proper warms ups, stretching, and cool downs to avoid ever having to go through this rehab.