The "Gunner" ITB Stretch
Russell Gunner, C.A.T. (C)
The Iliotibial band (ITB) is a constant source of problems for a significant amount of long distance runners. The actual condition associated with the ITB is called "Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome". The most common complaint I hear is "after about 30 minutes into my run, there is a sharp/stiffening pain on the outside of my knee. It can get so bad sometimes, I can't continue".
Location of pain with Iliotibial Band friction Syndrome
The ITB isn't always the culprit, but it is certainly one area that sounds like it would need to be addressed. As much as the ITB is a significant source of problems, finding a stretch that can isolate this area can be even tougher. I have seen several over the years, and have modified them to what I find best isolates the ITB.
You also need to understand that just because the ITB may seem like it is tight, it doesn't always mean there is not other things going on also. I have seen dozens of ITB's with significant other mechanical problems (overpronation, weak gluteals, etc). To truly identify the ITB as the culprit, you would need to be assessed my a therapist with a vast knowledge of runners and what they go through.
ITB Stretch Instructions (i.e. if Left ITB is stretched)
1) Back (left) leg straight.
2) Other (right) leg in front of the back leg.
3) Feet are shaped like the letter "T" with the front (right) foots arch facing outwards.
4) Take opposite (right) hand of the stretching leg onto the inside thigh of the back leg (left)
5) Lean over and grab something (i.e. door handle) with same side hand (left)
6) Now while holding the door handle, push the stretching leg out further to the side with the assistance of the lower hand and body weight.
7) You should feel the stretch down the outside and slightly back of the back leg (left)
Hold 30 seconds
Repeat 2-3 times, 3 times per day