Runners often think ITB is a knee problem. That's because the pain along the outside of the knee is the end result. Actually, the Iliotibial Band is a part of a longer tract which includes the Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL) that originates at the iliac crest continuing down to the Iliotibial tract and attaching to the tibia in the lower leg just below the knee. This muscle braces the knee when walking. Without the iliotibial band your leg would collapse. Handy muscle, huh?
The real culprit often causing Iliotibial Band Syndrome is the 9-to-5 job desk job. Think about it, if you sit at a desk for 8, 9, 10 hours, your hip flexors aren't living up to their name. They're not flexing. They're stuck in the same bent position, getting tighter and tighter. Then you hop up and go for a run most times without any stretching before or after. A combination that spells Iliotibial Band Syndrome over time for some.
Stretching is one of the best ways to help recover from Iliotibial Band Syndrome as well prevent it from happening in the first place. [Click here] for some great stretching and strengthening exercises for Iliotibial Band Syndrome from Running Times.
Stretching of course isn't the ITB "cure-all" for everyone, but it is worth talking to your sports doc about. Also, if you haven't experienced ITB problems, starting a regular stretching routine consisting of dynamic stretches before your run (i.e., stretches that are comprised of active movement specific to running such as butt kicks, knee lifts, jump squats, side shuffles, etc.) and static stretches after the run (more traditional stretch-and-hold type movements) will hopefully keep you ITB-problem-free. For more information on dynamic and static stretches [click here.]