courtesy of Runner's World -
The iliotibial band (ITB) is a long tendon that begins in the buttocks area, runs along the outside of the thigh and attaches to the side of the lower leg just below the knee. Pain and inflammation can occur at the outside of the knee where the ITB rubs against the bone, or at the bony protuberance of the hip when a too-tight ITB rubs against the bursa sac that lies next to the femur, resulting in bursitis. ITB syndrome is sometimes accompanied by "snapping hip," which is the ITB brushing over the bursa sac, which rubs over the bone.
ITB syndrome can be caused by a leg-length discrepancy, or by running on cambered roads or running fast downhill. Remedies: Treat with ice and anti-inflammatories (see "Three Basics"). Stretch several times a day--first the hamstrings, then the quads, then the ITB. Following are two good ITB stretches. If the inflammation is on your right side, stand with your right leg crossed in back of the left and extend your left arm against something stable--a wall or chair--for support. Lean against the wall while you push your right hip out to the side. Keep your right foot anchored. You should feel the stretch in your right hip and down the outside of your right leg. Hold the position until the muscle relaxes. Release for a few seconds, then repeat. Do six to eight on that side, then an equal number on the opposite side, to keep things biomechanically "even." For a different stretch, lie on your back and pull your right knee toward your left shoulder. With your right hand on your knee, grab the right foot with your left hand and pull the knee closer to your shoulder with both hands. You should feel the stretch along the side of the leg. Hold until the muscle relaxes, release for a few seconds, then repeat. Stretch both sides.
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