Iliotibial Band Syndrome, ITBs, ITBFS, IT band syndrome – call it what you want, iliotibial band syndrome is a commonly known running related injury that can stop a person right in their tracks…. literally!
The iliotibial band is a thick fibrous band that runs down the outside of the leg, attaching just below the knee joint. It is around this attachment point that most people will experience pain- hence it is commonly termed ‘runners’ knee’.
As with most running injuries- load and how often the ITB is placed under load are factors that can contribute to pain. This might be the ‘too much, too soon’ runner, or the ‘I like to run every day’ runner or even the ‘I attack every run as if it is a race!’ runner.
So how can we help?
….is better than a cure. 80% of running related injuries are due to errors in training, so run wisely. Factor in rest days (especially after longer runs), add in conditioning work and make sure you’re looking after number 1. The bottom line is if you’re unsure, speak to someone in the know- our physios are experts in training program design so get yourself booking in.
The one word that every runner dreads- rest! Pain-free running is key and if you can’t modify your runs to achieve this then it might be necessary to take some time away from running. This doesn’t mean you need to sit on your bum and let mother-nature do all the hard work- be proactive! Crosstrain (pain-free!), foam roll and address the underlying causes….this is where we come in!
- Muscle Weakness
Glutes, glutes and glutes. You might think they are the source of all evil but weak or lazy glutes can be a real issue for runners! In cases of ITBs, if the glutes are weak or not engaging correctly then compensatory mechanisms can result in greater stress through the ITB which may result in pain.
Now….whilst on the topic of flexibility there is some debate as to whether you can even stretch the IT band!! This aside what we do know is that tightness of the tissues that affect movement at the hip and knee can potentially increase load through the ITB. Stretches that target the hip flexors, quadriceps, calves and hamstrings (to name just a few!) are important to maintain good lower limb biomechanics and keep the IT band happy.
- Movement Control
Here’s the biggie! Everything we have mentioned above collectively contributes to how we move. Running is very repetitive and if we are unable to maintain good movement patterns for the duration of a run, then we increase our risk of injury. In the case of Iliotibial bands – balance, foot control, muscle endurance and timing of muscle activation are hugely important. A biomechanical assessment will identify any issues that might predispose you to injury so get yourself booked in with one of our expert physios!
Regarded as the 2nd most common injury in runners, ITBs is not to be overlooked! So whether you’re looking to reduce pain or take a preventative approach to injury our specialist therapists are here to help!
I hope this has given you food for thought…stay tuned for part 3 where we will take a step in to the science of plantar fasciitis (and many more foot puns!)
She exudes positivity and prides herself on being an enthusiastic and empathetic Physiotherapist. Rachel is there to listen and strives to form strong partnerships with all her clients so they can work together to achieve their rehab goals
Wootton 01604 875950
Great Denham 01234 980980