What is an ITB injury and how do you recover from it?

IT Band Syndrome is an overuse injury. It is commonly found in both runners and cyclists. The pain most often occurs on the outside of the knee and is very painful. The pain ‘switches’ on and makes running impossible. The pain results from the IT band rubbing against the lateral epicondyle of the knee.

iliotibial band, ITB.

iliotibial band, ITB.

The letters, ‘ITB’ stand for iliotibial band. There are a number of causes of ITB issues.

1. Overuse ITB very often comes along as a result of ramping mileage up too quickly. There are normally other factors that make an athlete susceptible to ITB but a sudden increase of mileage and speed will bring the injury on.

2. Tight Muscles Tight muscles will certainly be a factor. We use the Thomas test to ascertain the tightness of the iliopsoas muscle group. Tight Glutes, Hamstrings and Quads will also contribute.

3. Myofascial Adhesions. In my experience, many suffering from ITB have adhesions between the band and the Vastus Lateralis muscle that lies beneath it. These can be released using soft tissue massage techniques.

4. Weak Hip Muscles One of the runners gait signs that we look for when people are on the treadmill, is weakness in the Glut Medius muscles. This shows up as the hip dropping down as the runner goes through his/her gait. This hip weakness will cause the IT band to both tighten over the hip and will also place pressure on the lateral side of the knee.

5. Incorrect Running Shoes Running shoes that either allow for too much pronation or running shoes that overly correct the foot can play a role in ITB. We place runners on the treadmill and measure their rate of pronation via camera and computer. We are then able to prescribe the correct pair of running shoes.

6. Poor Running Form Make sure that you do not overstride. The straighter your leg upon landing the more the band will scrape against the lateral epicondyle of the knee. We are able to analyze your running gait via both video and computer measurements.

7. Running on heavily Cambered Roads. South African runners very often get ITB on their right knees. This comes from running on the right side of the road so as to face oncoming traffic. The road camber places undue stress on the outside of the right knee.

8. A Larger than normal Q Angle. See –https://sbrsport.me/2012/06/19/q-angle-what-is-it/ . There is nothing you can do about a large Q angle due to that fact that this is genetic. You can however make sure that your lateral leg muscles are supple and that your medial leg muscles, namely the Vastus Medialis are strong.

What to do. Book a runners leg assessment. I will look at all the factors mentioned. I might also suggest between 2 – 4 follow-up treatment sessions. These would include massage, mobility band treatment and kinesiology tape placement. Give the following a read with regard to our Runner Leg Assessment – https://sbrsport.me/2012/09/15/runners-leg-assessment/

Give us a call on if I can help. The assessment costs R 580 and takes an hour. Follow up treatments cost R 450 for an hour. This includes the cost of kinesiology tape etc.


Mike Roscoe.
Mike Roscoe


About sbrsport

SBR Sport specialises in Swimming, Biking and Running. On the medical side we are able to do intensive bike setups, leg assessments and soft tissue release. - www.twitter.com/swimbikerunshop and/or facebook - www.facebook.com/sbrsport.
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