IT Band Syndrome Slowing you down?
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
By: Dr. Carolyn McNeill
We are back to the blog, so we are going to start a series on some common running injuries. Our summers here in Ottawa can be short and many people like to use these months to get outside and get in some running. Running is an inexpensive activity and you can do it by walking out your front door instead of traveling to and from a gym or other workout facility. While there are great benefits to running, many people, whether seasoned pros training for a marathon, or people who have just bought their first pair of running shoes, experience injuries while doing it. Our goal at OCSI is to give patients as much information as possible, so that if you start to experience some symptoms when running, you can try some exercises and stretches, and if need be, come into the clinic for an assessment and treatment.
To start this series, we are going to look at iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). Most running injuries related to the knee are due to the constant repetition of the running motion and ITBS is no exception. The iliotibial band is a thickened band of connective tissue that runs from the hip to the knee, on the outside of the leg. The top of the ITB is made up of a muscle called the tensor fascia latae which sits on the outside of the hipbone. The tensor fascia latae becomes the ITB as it runs down and attaches to the bone just below the outside of the knee.
It is theorized that most ITB issues are caused by a weakness in the hip musculature. During running, if these muscles tire and don’t fire like they should, the pelvis will shift, causing an overactivation of the tensor fascia latae. This in turn places tension on the ITB and its insertions at the knee, which produces irritation and a subsequent inflammatory reaction.
What runners feel when this happens is a sharp or burning pain, with occasional swelling and thickening of the tissue on the outside of the knee. The pain may occur with running and can persist with walking and going up and down stairs.
From a treatment perspective, our goal is to reduce the inflammation at the knee with acupuncture and soft tissue work. We will also implement a rehab program, to make sure the core and hip musculature are both strong and functional.
If you do experience these symptoms, it is wise to discontinue running to allow the tissue to heal, but cross training may be continued if not aggravating the knee.
Click on the links above or visit our website to view some stretches and exercises which can help prevent you from experiencing the symptoms associated with ITB when exercising this summer. www.ocsiclinic.ca/rehab