Q&A: How Can I Treat IT Band Syndrome?

I’ve been feeling tightness and soreness along the outside of my leg, and I think it might be IT band syndrome. How should I adjust my training, and what can I do to treat the injury in the meantime?

IT band syndrome is a very common injury that plagues runners, especially as they increase their training volume, and it can be quite painful. Training should be adjusted to tolerance. If it continues to hurt, decrease your intensity or volume, but even if it doesn’t, proceed with caution. Incorporating a walk/run program into your training is a great way to keep volume up and not interfere too greatly when training for a race.

To treat IT band syndrome, the gold standard is to foam roll the IT band before your run. Generally, starting with a softer roller and progressing to a firmer one over the course of a few days to weeks is an ideal way to decrease symptoms.

Also, incorporating a strengthening program that focuses on your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings is a good way to make the muscles around the IT band stronger, and can prevent IT band syndrome from coming back down the road.

ABOUT THIS CONTRIBUTOR

Michael Silverman

Michael Silverman, PT, MSPT, USATF-1, is a physical therapist at Hospital for Special Surgery’s James M. Benson Sports Rehabilitation Center, specializing in rehabilitation for runners and other performance athletes. He has a special interest in running form analysis, which he performs at the Tisch Performance Center at Hospital for Special Surgery.

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