How To Fix IT Band Syndrome
A lot of runner’s know the feeling of nagging pain on the outside of the knee that they, or someone else, have diagnosed as IT Band Syndrome (ITBS). If you’re here, then you likely have tried the initial prescription of rest, NSAIDs, foam rolling, and stretching with no long term solution to the problem.
Luckily we know exactly what to do to help people that struggle with IT Band Syndrome that limits their performance. Here is what we work on with our clients to relieve ITBS for good.
Stretch and Foam Roll the Right Things
The IT Band is a long, tough, thick band of fascia. You could run a steam roller over it and likely not lengthen it at all. This is why attempting to stretch or foam roll the IT band is not going to help very much. With that said, all these different muscles and structures overlap and need to glide past each other, so foam rolling the IT band can help restore some of that glide to help with mobility.
However, it will be more useful to foam roll and stretch the other muscles around the IT band including: the quadriceps, the hamstrings, and the glutes.
Also, the Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL) is the muscle that attaches to the top of the IT band and controls it, so soft tissue work to the top of the hip will reduce tension through the band.
Slowly Increase Mileage
When you bend the knee the IT band rubs past the outside edge of the knee. If you increase your mileage too quickly, then the knee will not be used to this friction and get irritated. This is one of the common reasons that people develop IT Band Syndrome.
What we do is drop mileage to a more manageable level, then slowly increase it while working on rehab. We never tell people they have to stop doing the activity that they love, unless it is completely necessary (which is very rare).
Strengthen and Stabilize the Hip
IT Band Syndrome is usually associated with hip weakness and instability. Exercises that help build control of the knee are the main focus here. We do a lot of single leg exercises because runners spend a lot of time on one leg.
Be Conscious of Knee Position
Like I said, the hip controls the knee. It is important to make sure that these exercises carry over to running form. Keeping the knees from caving will take stress off the knees. A narrow stance, or people that run like they are on a tightrope, will also put a lot of pressure on the outside of the knee. In this case we would work on ways to lengthen the muscles along the inside of the thigh to widen the running stance.
We always look at addressing the root cause of a problem if we want to take care of it for good and addressing running form is often the key.
There you have it, that’s what we work on with people that come to us with symptoms of IT Band Syndrome to get them back to running pain free at their previous mileage or better!
If you want to take the guesswork out of fixing your IT Band Syndrome and get results faster, then click the link below to request a Free Discovery Visit!
We give you the opportunity to tell us all about your struggles with knee pain and by the end of the session we can tell you exactly how we will help you take care of it and prevent it from coming back.
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Dr. Brett Dick, PT, DPT