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Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The IT band injury is often associated with tightness in the Iliotibial Band and knee pain. Although pain in the knee can be from a number of factors, if is centralized on the outside edge, lateral side of the knee, most likely it is Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). ITBS also goes by Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome or ITBFS. If left untreated, ITBS can greatly sideline your training.

The Iliotibial Band contains a thick tendinous fascia. It begins in the outer side of the hip and extends to the lateral area of the knee. The muscle, tensor fascia lata, like all muscles consists of a band of connective tissue that binds to the bone. The source of pain is typically not from overstraining or overuse. Rather the syndrome comes with a lack of flexibility and strength and is often aligned with runners who do a lot of running on a track or crowned road. Typical IT band injury problems start at the beginning of racing season and when athletes are intensifying their workouts.


Iliotibial Band Syndrome Symptoms

It Band syndrome symptoms are often confused with Runner’s Knee but the two are different issues and require different treatment. The IT band pain typically starts a few miles into the run and remains constant. The discomfort will radiate up and down the leg. With downhill’s and walking down stairs, the pain intensifies. Yet when the activity stops, the pain subsides and feels better with shorter strides.

IT Band Injury Symptoms

  • Pain or aching on the outside of the knee or below
  • Pain around the hip
  • Pain exasperates down hills or stairs
  • Knee hurts during middle or end of a run

Prone to IT Pain

  • Foot pronation
  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Bow legs (Genu Varum )


IT Band Causes

IT Band causes are often a result of training habits, doing too much too soon and muscular imbalances.

IT Band Injury Causes

  • Too much circular track workout (as in your only running route)
  • Running too much on crowned roads (road with a hump for drainage)
  • Excessive leg tightness


Iliotibial Band Syndrome Treatment

With treatment, the common suggestions are the same as with all injuries to back down, ice and stretch. However with these actions the root problem is not addresses and once activity resumes, the injury will likely return as well. Stretching is essential, but another element is needed to bring about full recovery. Strengthening the effected leg is needed to address the issue. Massage and other treatments are also vital to hasten recovery.

If much of your running occurs on the track, although it may seem odd, run in the opposite direction to give the injured area a break. If you run on crowned road, where the road humps for drainage, seek out flat surfaces.

Simply resting will not suffice for recovery. Too often with injuries, rest is the first and only action taken. Rest may not even be necessary, as are other factors that need to be addressed. Stretching is also important but is also only one part of the recovery process. Strengthening the IT band is very important.

Taking a comprehensive approach is necessary to prevent a relapse. Resting and stretching may initial make the pain subside, but once returning to normal training, the pain will quickly return.

IT Band Injury Treatment

  • Possibly decrease training or intensity
  • Stretching of the It band
  • Strengthening the area
  • Limit track / circular running or reverse direction
  • Run on flat surfaces
  • Ensure proper shoes and/or wear custom orthotics
  • Muscle Stripping

If you are experiencing the first signs of pain, tired of a never ending ache or plagued with a reoccurring injury call the Running Doctor at 678.705.2709. Schedule a time to meet with him to discuss your running history and goals and get on track to running pain free.

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