What is IT Band syndrome?:
Your iliotibial (IT) band is a tendon that connects your knee to your hip. IT band syndrome (ITBS) results when this tendon becomes inflamed. ITBS has been compared to the feeling of somebody stabbing you in the side of the knee when you run, especially when going downhill. This annoying and painful injury can quickly become crippling if not addressed and corrected. In most cases, preventative is certainly better than cure.
- Pain in the upper leg/thigh
- Pain that worsens during exercise such as running
- Sharp pains on the outside of the knee joint or at the round end of the thigh bone
- Tightness and loss of flexibility in the knee and hip
Like most common running injuries, the causes are many: Running downhill and always running on the same side of the road are common culprits. Both put a lot of stress on the side of the knee and cause friction between the IT band and the femur. Over time, the IT band tightens and may swell, pain emerges, and the pain eventually intensifies to the point where it keeps runners from running.
The problem comes with how the IT band works when we run. The IT band is a thick band that extends from the tensor fascia lata (TFL) muscle and lateral glute muscles, along the outside of your leg and knee, and connects into the shin bone. As it runs across the outside of the knee, it gets impinged on that bone of knee flexion. Repeating that over and over as you run causes irritation.
First things first, cool – reduce the inflammation and pain. Apply A Physicool B Bandage for thirty minutes to one hour 2-4 hours per day as the cooling feature will reduce swelling and pain, whilst the compression element helps to limit inflammation. The bandage can be re-fueled and re-used as many times as needed during your recovery process and can help you get back to doing what you love faster. Post-training and evenings are best times for a Physicool treatment due to the weight that your leg has carried throughout the day but a lunchtime treatment will definitely help.
After the pain decreases, it’s time to focus on soft tissue work, like deep tissue massaging to the quadriceps and hamstring muscles, stretching, and using a foam roller will help loosen things up. Avoid aggressive downhill running, and if you always run on the same side of the road, switch directions every so often. Finally, strengthen your hips, quads and hamstrings and glutes, but only after you’ve been able to alleviate pain.