Leg Lift Stretches for IT Band Pain

The IT band runs from the hip to the knee.

The IT band runs from the hip to the knee.

Imagine a rope rubbing against a sharp rock. Eventually the rope will wear out and break. That rope can be compared to the IT band. If just the thought makes you say “ouch!” -- join the club. The IT band, or illiotibial band, runs along the outside of the leg from the hip to the knee and is often injured while running. Illiotibial band pain is normally a sharp burning sensation felt along the outside of the knee, and sometimes in the hip. Leg lifts help to strengthen your leg muscles, reducing the risk of a reoccurring injury. However, if your IT band pain is recent, you should allow some time to rest prior to performing any exercises.

Side Leg Lift

Lie on your left side on the floor with your back against a wall. Bend your left knee and lay it on the floor. Bend your left arm and put it on the floor, holding up your upper body. Place your right hand flat on the floor.

Straighten your right leg and slide it upward along the wall. Hold it in place for five seconds.

Slide your right leg back down to the floor.

Repeat 20 times. Do the exercise again on the other leg. Every other day, add an additional five leg lifts if you can.

Standing Side Leg Lift

Hold on to the back of a sturdy chair. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

Lift your left leg out to the side. Hold it there for two seconds.

Bring your leg back down to the floor. Repeat 10 times on each leg.


  • Use massage and/or a foam roller in addition to leg lifts to help heal IT band pain.
  • One-legged squats are an excellent exercise to help prevent IT band pain.


  • Talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise routine.

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About the Author

Though constantly traveling the world, Julia Williams is based in Chicago and has been writing since 2006. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting. She is also a licensed fitness instructor, specializing in Pilates since 2003 and has written hundreds of articles on exercise and health.

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