ITB Band Syndrome

While most runners are gearing up for the marathons, triathalons and iron man challenges it’s important to discuss some common overuse injuries.

IT syndrome is one of the most common overuse injuries among runners and can become tight or inflamed to cause pain severe enough to completely sideline a runner for weeks or even longer. When the IT band isn’t working efficiently, movement of the knee when running therefore becomes painful. 

As the ITB band comes near the knee, it narrows and rubbing can occur between the band and the knee. This can cause symptoms such as some swelling and pain on the outside of the knee as well as tenderness along the ITB. Pain usually gets worse with running and can cause one to stop.

Some of the common causes of ITB syndrome include repetitive activity that causes the leg to turn inwards. Wearing worn out shoes, running downhill or on banked surfaces, long distance running especially when gearing up for an upcoming event. Therefore it can affect seasoned runners almost as much as beginners.

Some preventative steps to prevent ITB syndrome include decreasing your mileage or taking a few day off if you feel pain around the knee, ensuring there is a gradual increase in running distance, adequate warm up, ensure your shoes are in good condition and not worn along the outside of the sole, try to avoid had surfaces and excessively uneven surfaces.

Once you notice ITB pain the best advice is to rest immediately with fewer miles or no running at all. In the majority of runners this would prevent pain from returning, otherwise it can become chronic. Engaging in cross training, swimming, cycling and rowing are good alternatives to maintain fitness in the interim.

If this still doesn’t achieve the needed results then it is important to seek professional advice for further management of the ITB. Some therapy types include foam rolling the ITB, Dry needling, assessment of surrounding muscle to ensure adequate activation and gradual return to running. Cortisone injections can be considered as a second to last resort if there are still no improvements.

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