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IT band exercises patellofemoral pain syndrome exercises

IT Band Exercises & Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome Exercises

I would like to address some corrective exercise strategies for two conditions that affect many people, especially  endurance athletes.

Today, we will address iliotibial band syndrome and patella femoral syndrome. Most athletes or individuals assume that the sight of pain is the cause of pain but that’s not always the way our bodies work. More often than not, we see that it is a reciprocal or synergistic muscle in the contraction chain of the pain site that may be causing a malalignment or altered joint function. First I’m going to give a brief overview of these two syndromes and then show you a corrective exercise strategy to improve mobility.

In this video, I will briefly demonstrate each exercise in this series. There will be three total parts.

Part One : is the introduction and basic science behind Iliotibial Band and Patella Femoral Syndrome.

Part Two: is very basic and gentle corrective work that you can do with your own bodyweight and foam roller. It is an introduction workout.

Part Three: is a more detailed and complex workout but with greater benefit as it will address imbalances with deeper myofascial work, stretching and loaded resistance training. A quick note on every exercise…these are to be completed slowly and with control to maintain effectiveness. This includes the speed of foam rolling.

Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome:

IT is the result of inflammation and irritation of the distal portion of the Iliotibial band tendon as it rubs against the lateral femoral condyle. This is commonly referred to as runner’s knee and can be a literal pain.

Basically, this is the result of a lack of flexibility in the tensor fascia Lata which can result in greater levels of tension on the IT band during the Stance phase of running. What can be very frustrating for runners is that this is usually an injury related to overuse, but it is most commonly the result of an abnormal gait or poor running biomechanics.

Although athletes in various sports can also be affected by this syndrome. Weakness of muscle groups in the kinetic chain may also result in the development of IT band syndrome weakness in the hip abductor muscles such as the gluteus medius which may result in synergistic dominance of the TFL which will create frontal plane instability. Plus it places a lot of stress on the IT band and adds additional friction to support tissue resulting in inflammation and possible increased Q angle.

Patello Femoral Pain Syndrome

 One of the most commonly accepted causes of this condition is an abnormal tracking with a patella within the femoral trochlea.

When the patella is not properly aligned within that track, the stress per unit area on the patellar cartilage increases, which reduces the contact area between the patella and the track. The result of this abnormal tracking can contribute to static or dynamic lower extremity malalignment, which will increase femoral rotation, adduction and valgus of the knee. Not only does this compromise the musculature supporting the knee it can also put a heavy burden on connective tissue throughout the lower extremities.

Typically we also see a good deal of synergistic dominance in the gluteus as the medial glutes tend to lose mobility and the body compensates by shifting the load to the TFL causing additional pain and poor joint alignment.

General Instructions:

  • Foam Rolling – Slow with pressure on tender spots for at least 30 seconds
  • Resistance – Slow and controlled 3 -4 sets with 12 -20 reps per movement.
  • Stretch – Hold all stretches for at least 30 seconds on each side.

IT Band Exercises & Patellofemoral Pain Syndome Exercises List (Part One)

  • Double Leg Flexion to Hover Extension – 3 sets / 12 reps
  • Glute Bridge with Dorsiflexion – 3 sets / 12 reps
  • Crossed Supine Single Leg Bridge – 3 sets / 12 reps each side
  • Prone Full Body Extension – 3 sets / 12 reps or 12 5 second static holds
  • Prone Quadriceps Stretch – 2 sets / 30 seconds minimum hold each side
  • Prone Plank – 3 sets / 60 seconds each hold
  • Side Plank with Legs Straight – 3 sets / 60 seconds each hold
  • 4 Point External Hip Extension and External Rotation – 3 sets / 12 reps each side
  • 4 Point Stabilization Touch Knee to Opposite Elbow – 3 sets / 12 reps each side
  • Squats with Resistance Tubing – 3 sets / 12 reps
  • Gastroc Wall Stretch – 2 sets / 30 seconds minimum hold each side

Exercise List (Part Two Coming Soon)

Please share this demonstration with your friends and family! 

By Michael S. Parker
Founder at Forge Online Personal Training


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