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The iliotibial band, also known as the IT band, is a thick band of tissue that runs along the outside of each leg. The IT band helps keep the legs and knees stable as they move, and if it becomes inflamed or irritated, it can cause pain in the knees, hips, or outer thighs. A tight IT band is more vulnerable to irritation, and running long distances tends to make it tight. Keep your IT band happy with this stretch: