IT Band Syndrome
The Iliotibial (IT) band is a thick band of fascia that runs along the lateral or outside of the knee, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and inserting just below the knee. Its major role is to stabilize the knee by moving from behind the thighbone (femur) to the front of thighbone during activities such as walking or running. IT band syndrome (ITBS) is an overuse injury of tissues of the outer thigh and the knee. It occurs when the distal portion of the IT band rubs against the lateral thigh bone and is one of the leading causes of lateral knee pain in runners, but can actually occur to anyone with overused IT bands. Runners are at the greatest risk and without proper care, the pain can become so severe, it can put runners out for months!
The most typical and notable symptom of IT band syndrome is pain on the outside of the knee. Because the pain can become so severe, many mistake the pain for a lateral meniscus tear. A difference between ITBS and a knee injury is that a knee injury will usually swell, so if you don’t have any swelling, and you’re consistently experiencing this pain, about five to seven minutes into a sport, like running, you likely have ITBS. Another way to differentiate a lateral meniscus tear from IT band syndrome is that you’ll experience a clicking sensation with a tear.
Risk factors include overtraining, improper footwear, muscle imbalances including weak hip muscles, leg-length discrepancy or high or low arches of the foot. Inadequate warm-up or cool-down or a lack of proper mobility are also contributing factors.
• Tightness of the affected muscles
• Gradual onset of burning or pain at the lateral part of the knee during activity
• Radiation of pain to the outside of the thigh
• Aggravation of pain during repetitive activities (e.g. running or cycling)
• Swelling of area where the band moves over the thigh bone
How to treat ITBS:
• RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation)
• Anti-inflammatories for pain management during the acute phase.
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• Myofascial relief through deep tissue work including medical massage techniques.
• Exercises that focus on identifying and treating the underlying causes of the IT band syndrome such as muscle imbalances or tightness in certain areas.
• Stretching specific to the IT Band
It is important to include an exercise and stretching protocol that focuses on regaining strength and flexibility. Soft tissue work, including massage therapy, can be helpful to restore muscular imbalances in the area. As for all exercise protocols it is important to conduct the exercises on a regular basis for a minimum of 6 weeks. For runners or other endurance athletes they could be included in a dynamic warm-up or cool-down phase.
How Four Wellness can help you?
Step 1: Book a Medical Massage Lower Extremity Session. Your session will include specific techniques that will quickly release, not only the IT Band, but all the major lower extremity muscle players. Your session will include some or all of the following: CBD Clinic Level 5, Deep Tissue, Rock Blade Therapy, Stretching, and Muscle Stimulation to reactivate muscles that have gone on strike 🙂
Step 2: Schedule a 4 view postural assessment and receive a detailed report sent via a PDF file with customized strengthening and stretching exercises. With this service, you will receive online support, intermediate and advanced program and a 1 month post postural assessment to see your hard work and results.
Owner of Four Wellness, llc