Common Running Injuries: Fixing IT Band Pain

Sure, most of us have been affected by at least ONE of those pesky common running injuries. But how many of you have landed a LONG-TERM solution?

Here, we address our 2 BEST exercises for FIXING IT band pain!

But First, Where Do These Common Running Injuries Come From?

The main culprit for IT band pain is weakened run form, occurring when you become tired and uncoordinated in your core, hips, and foot strike.

The resulting downwards spiral:

  • You sink into your hip.
  • Your knee caves in.
  • You’re forced to support yourself with some overly-concentrated combination of your quads and IT band.

This chain of events, repeated on both legs over the course of several miles creates BIG PAIN.

By addressing where the original “breakdown” happens, you can stop the poor form and resulting pain from happening at all!

Solution #1: Get On The Foam Roller!

Common Running Injuries - Foam Roll

Ah…the dreaded foam roller.

The foam roller is one of the best tools to use for most common running injuries, especially this one!

You can use it to separate and “unclog” the tight spots that build up in the legs, which tend to take the most impact in running.

Do not just roll ALONG the IT band!

Use the foam roller as a platform for separating the quadricep muscle (in this case the Vastus Lateralis) from the IT band itself by rolling both “north-to-south” AND “east-to-west”.

Common Running Injuries - East to West

As you roll down along the IT band, stop at each tight spot and begin rolling “east-to-west” at that junction. This will encourage separation in the right area.

You are all different runners and the IT band is quite large…so your tight spots will differ, even day to day.

To get in even deeper, try adding a “heel kick”.

Common Running Injuries - Add Heel Kick

Bend the leg being rolled out on the foam roller towards your butt, while flexing the heel for a more intense method of “ironing” out those kinks.

To keep common injuries like this one at bay, spend 2-3 minutes (per leg) on the foam roller, EACH DAY!

Solution #2: Strengthen Your Running Form!

Our favorite for fixing IT band pain is the single leg deadlift. 

Common Running Injuries - Single Leg Deadlift

The single leg deadlift helps to build strength around the knee and in the glutes/hamstrings, so that less work is required of the quad & IT band itself.

  • Start by standing on one leg, keeping glutes engaged so that you can’t sink into the hip.
  • Stick the butt back.
  • Hinge from the hips keeping back and chest straight.
  • Allow a slight bend in the supporting knee, pressing out like you would in a squat.
  • Increase range of motion as movement becomes comfortable.

Once this feels good, add some weight! We recommend a 26-35+ lb kettlebell.

On each rep, the kettlebell should reach just below the knee, until you feel comfortable enough to go lower, adding an increased bend in the standing leg.

Remember to NOT let the back round or hips swing open as you lower!

Common Running Injuries - Keep Hips Square

Complete 3-5 sets of 5-10 reps PER leg.

Most common running injuries can be avoided with REGULAR strength and mobility work, each taking just a few moments out of your day…all to create a long term injury-free solution.

And be sure to download our FREE Injury Prevention Training Video with “pre-injury” pinch test!