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How to Manage and Relieve Hip to Knee Pain: Elyse's Journey with motivPT

Updated: Jun 21

Pain that Keeps You Up at Night…

Pain that keeps you up at night…it’s really the worst. It’s also an excellent sign it’s time to do something about it. This is what Elyse was dealing with when she started up with motivPT. She kept waking up at night with excruciating pain that went from her outer hip to her outer knee. Do you know what structure runs from your outer hip to your outer knee? Ding, ding, ding; your IT band.


Your iliotibial band (IT band) is strong–crazy strong--like, "you could pull a car with it" strong. It takes 2,000 pounds of force to stretch it 1%. So, the idea of stretching your IT band is a little different than most people think. More on that later.


When Hip and Knee Pain Takes Over

Elyse dancing

For Elyse, the pain was unrelenting. She would wake up in the middle of the night in agony, having to get out of bed and try to find a position that didn’t hurt. It wasn’t just her sleep that was affected; her passion for dance took a hit, too. Elyse is a social ballroom dancer who teaches cardio dance and hip-hop classes twice weekly. Dance is her joy, her creative outlet that balances her logical, math-focused mind from her job as a mechanical engineer. However, the hip pain made her worry about every move in class. She had to tone down her dance moves to 80%, significantly decreasing her enjoyment. The constant question, "Will I regret this later?" loomed over her.


IT Band symptoms can be caused by a couple of things: 1) tightness or 2) weakness. Usually, it’s a combination of the two. We mentioned earlier how strong the actual IT band is, so stretching probably isn’t going to make it longer. This doesn’t mean we don’t stretch. While the band won’t lengthen, the muscles that attach it to the hip will, so stretching these groups is important. 


As far as weakness, the hip muscles do a tremendous job of stabilizing our pelvis and informing the mechanics of the knee below. If we have weak hip muscles, our mechanics are impacted, and for Elyse, who just started getting back into running, her lack of strength on her right side was making itself known.


Here’s What We Found

During our online video assessment, we discovered Elyse had tightness and weakness in the muscles outside her hip, especially the ones causing her pain. We started by stretching these muscles and introducing exercises focused on pelvic stability—like standing on one leg, trying it with eyes closed, and adding knee bends. As her pain decreased, we advanced to more complex stability exercises and formal strengthening of her outer hip.


In total, Elyse completed 26 different exercises over 8 weeks. It might sound like a lot, but we only have clients do 3 to 4 exercises each day, never repeating the same routine two days in a row. Elyse was diligent, and it paid off!


What’s Next for Elyse?

With the help of motivPT, Elyse is getting back on track and in absolutely no pain (we asked about this a lot). After our second week together, her hip no longer hurt. Her daughter, Jazleen, also keeps her busy and proud, having placed third at the state cross-country meet last year and participating in State again this year.


Elyse's journey is a testament to the importance of addressing pain and finding ways to keep doing what you love. With her dedication and the right support, she’s reclaiming her nights and her joy in dance and movement. Here's to many more nights of restful sleep and days filled with the activities she loves!


At motivPT, we'll get you moving in a healthy way. If you have pain, weakness, or imbalance, consider booking an online Physical Therapy routine customized to fit your individual needs. Book your free 15-minute consult to talk with Dr. Alex about your concerns and learn more about how we work!

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