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How to apply kinesiology tape for the IT band or lateral hip

  • 4 min read


    The iliotibial band or IT Band is a long piece of tissue that helps you move your hips. It also allows you to extend, abduct, and rotate your hips. This band spans from the hip to the knee and shin bone. 

    IT band pain or lateral hip pain is a common complaint in many athletes. IT band syndrome describes inflammation, irritation, or other injury-related processes that are affecting this particular area.

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    Are you experiencing discomfort in your IT band? Read on to know more about it, its common causes, its symptoms, prevention, and a kinesiology taping protocol that you can do.

    Table of Contents

    What are the common causes of IT Band (Lateral Hip) pain?

    IT band pain often comes when the tensor fascia latae is tight. It’s a large tendon that runs down the side of your thigh and attaches below the knee. 

    When the tendon is tight, the entire structure will be tight. It also puts pressure on the hip bone that has the Bursa - a fluid-filled sac. The Achilles tendon runs over the top of it. It’ll cause inflammation of the sac - which then leads to pain.

    IT band tightness can also be caused by overuse either from increased distance or intensity of running, competitive sports involving sprinting, or climbing stairs/hills (commonly associated with running).


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    Some of the most common causes of IT band pain includes: 

    • Not resting enough between workouts 
    • Exercising too long and pushing too hard 

    Some folks may be more prone to developing IT band including: 

    • Bowed knee
    • Knee Arthritis 
    • Having a leg longer than the other
    • Rotating your foot or leg inward when walking or running

    What are the common symptoms of IT Band (Lateral Hip) pain?

    IT band pain is accompanied by the following symptoms:

    • Pain in the side of the hip 
    • Pain at the side of your knee 
    • Clicking at the lateral knee, often when running up and down the stairs 

    What is the treatment for IT band pain or lateral hip pain?

    Some of the treatments for pain in the IT band can include:

    • Rest. Resting will prevent further irritating the affected area. 
    • Applying an ice pack or ice massage. ITBs should be treated with ice packs to reduce swelling and relieve pain following any activity that may have aggravated it. 
    • Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication to reduce IT band swelling and pain. 
    • Steroid injections. A doctor can determine whether steroid injections are appropriate for ITBs during a physical examination of the injured area. 
    • Physical therapy. A physical therapist can help stretch and massage the IT band and other soft tissue structures which will help improve their flexibility and function while decreasing tension.

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    How do you apply kinesiology tape to the IT band or lateral hip?

    In this section, learn how to use kinesiology tape to decompress the area. Taping may help alleviate the discomfort that you feel. You can follow the video presentation below. 

    1. Prepare three short I-strips. The aim is to tape in multiple directions to lift the skin and to help decompress the area. 
    2. Take the first strip and apply 10% tension. Place it over the hip bone. Next, take your second strip and apply it on top of the first strip, forming an X. Then, get the third strip and place it on top of the first two strips. These two strips should also have 10% tension.
    3. Then, measure and cut the tape from the hip area up until the knee.
    4. Place the leg in a lengthened position. Get your last strip and taper off tension. 
    5. Always remember to round your edges. Rub the tape in for proper adhesion. 

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    How do you prevent IT band pain or lateral hip pain from developing?

    IT Band pain can be prevented by regularly performing IT band stretches before and after physical activity. It can also be prevented by regularly performing stretches both statically and dynamically to ensure that the area is supple enough for any athletic activity or daily activity. 

    To prevent IT band pain, runners should increase their mileage gradually- no more than ten percent every week- to allow for time for IT band strengthening and stretching exercises. 

    Some of the easiest ways to prevent IT band pain from developing include:

    • Getting enough warm-up or stretching especially for your IT band, hamstrings, and thighs 
    • Having enough recovery time after a workout 
    • Have good running shoes 
    • Run on a level surface or flat surface
    • Foam rolling to loosen up your IT band


    Now that you know more about the common causes and symptoms of IT band pain as well as its treatment and prevention, enjoy your active lifestyle more fully! 

    If you want to check out more taping protocols like AC joint sprain or shoulder impingement, you can read more from our blog


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