IT Band Syndrome Rehabilitation
IT(Iliotibial) Band Syndrome or ITBS is a common overuse injury to the outside of the knee which happens mostly to runners. The pain can be restricting and sidelining an athlete for days, weeks and even longer.
Iliotibial Band is a muscular and thick band of fascia running from the outside of the knee. It extends from outside the hip and knee and finishes just below the knee. It is an important component of a runners body as it helps stabilising the knee during running. Any repetitive movement like running or cycling, may lead to irritation of this band leading to a stinging pain outside the knee.
1. Sharp stinging pain on the outside of the knee or all along the length of the band. The pain is felt with the fall of step or when the knee is bent at 45 degree angle.
2. It also may involve swelling of the painful area.
3. Popping sound once the knee is bent.
Causes of ITBS
1. Running on banked surface of the road continuously which leads to irritation of the band of the downhill leg.
2. Poor running form and over pronation.
3. Wearing worn out shoe while running.
4. Weak glutes lead to excess side to side movement which can irritate IT band.
5. Sudden increase in mileage.
6. Running without performing an adequate warm up can put sudden pressure on the fascia.
7. Excessive uphill or downhill running.
8. Uneven leg length which causes extra stretching of the band of the shorter leg( I have this uneven leg length, the left is longer than the right one).
9. Being bow legged also leads to this injury.
Prevention of ITBS
1. Stop or decrease the mileage if experiencing pain.
2. Gradually increase mileage i.e 10% increase from the average distance run of the previous week. Also take a recovery week every 3rd or 4th week in which reduce the total distance run in each week.
3. Change directions if running on banked surface or change the route to run.
4. Incorporate an adequate warm up routine before the run.
5. Replace shoes if the sole is worn out on the outside.
6. Read this to improve running form.
Treatment of ITBS
I perform few exercises whenever I feel this pain. These exercises basically strengthens the band and help in stretching it and makeing it supple.
ITBS, if checked in time, can be cured easily. Follow the RICE method i.e R for rest, I for ice, C for compression(it may not help) and E for elevate.
2. Stretches and exercises
Following stretches can be performed to relieve the stress on IT band, hence increasing blood circulation to aid recovery.
a) Pigeon pose
Hold the pose for 30 seconds or so till it gets comfortable. Throughout the movement keep breathing normally. Repeat this exercise several times throughout the day if IT band feels tight.
b) Sitting glute stretch
Same as the above stretch, hold it for 30 seconds or so. A variation is doing this stretch while lying down or standing.
c) IT band stretch
I perform this throughout the day or in warm up or whenever while running I feel the pain. It is one of the best stretches to elongate the IT band.
d) Lying side leg raises
Another excellent exercise to strengthen the IT band. Perform a 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps. Do not bend the knee while lifting otherwise it will lose its effectiveness.
Another good exercise to target the lateral hip muscles. Perform 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps. Keep the head, neck and spine in a straight line.
f) Other treatments include non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs and corticosteroid injections in worse cases.
It is always advisable to read about injury prevention before it strikes you. A correct diagnosis and timely action can save a lot of downtime. Be proactive and read about running apart from actually running. Reading up always helps. In case you have any query or additions to the above, please feel free to add on.
Till then stay fit and keep running.
1. Images - Google.