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.
The letters, ‘ITB’ stand for the 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 runner’s gait signs that we look for when people are on the treadmill is a weakness in the Glute 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. 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’s Leg Assessment
Give us a call on 011 024 2969 if I can help. Pricing for the Assessment and follow-up Myofascial release can be found here.