Knee ache? You’re not by yourself. One-quarter of adults have frequent knee pain, and iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome is a common cause, particularly when it manifests as achy soreness on the outside of the knee. While moving can help with iliotibial band syndrome, it will not solve the problem. This is where yoga stretching comes into play. Warming up with 5–10 minutes of non-painful movements, such as a walk or Sun Salutation A, is beneficial.
Variation of Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)
This Yoga pose can help with iliotibial band syndrome in the following ways: Stretches the hamstrings at the point where they meet the IT band.
How to do it: Come to a full stop and cross your left ankle in front of your right. Fold forward with your knees slightly bent and rest your hands on the floor, a block, or a chair. To keep your back from rounding, raise your sitting bones toward the sky and move your ribs away from your pelvis. Stay here for 1 minute, breathing comfortably, and then repeat, crossing your left ankle over your right.
Variation of Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)
This yoga pose can help with iliotibial band syndrome in the following ways: Stretches the tensor fasciae latae at the top of the IT band, which is difficult to reach.
How to do it: Begin in a Low Lunge with your right leg forward. Raise your hips up and back until they are directly over or slightly ahead of your knee on the ground. In this pose, the tendency is to lean forward and stretch the hip flexors, but in this variation, you want to keep your hips over your back knee (move your front foot back if you need to). Place your right hand or forearm on your right thigh and reach your left-hand overhead and to the right without arching your lower back. This should be felt in your left leg’s outer hip. Stay here for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing comfortably, and then repeat on the other side.
Gomukhasana Supta (Supine Cow Face Pose)
This yoga pose can help with iliotibial band syndrome in the following ways: The gluteus maximus muscles, which attach to the IT band, are stretched.
How to do it: Lie on your back with one knee crossed over the other. Hug your knees in toward your chest while keeping your head and shoulders on the floor. Stay here if you’re in need of a good stretch. Flex your feet, grab your ankles, and pull them toward your hips if you don’t. Hold for 1 minute, then repeat with your legs crossed in the opposite direction.