Injury Prevention 101: IT Band Syndrome

Photo by Matt Stanley

Photo by Matt Stanley

IT Band Syndrome is a runner’s worst nightmare.

ITBS is one of the most common running injuries, especially among women. ITBS is often misidentified as “runner’s knee.” While ITBS often manifests itself in knee pain, it is most definitely not the same as runner’s knee.

The IT Band is a thick band of fascia (connective tissue) that runs from the knee to the hip along the outside of the thigh.The most common symptom of ITBS is pain and inflammation on the outside of the knee. This pain is often very sharp. It is most commonly felt upon extension. Consequently, some people suffering from ITBS may feel significant pain while walking downstairs.

What causes ITBS? Here are a few common root causes:

  1. Overpronation/Supination: While supinating the IT band is shortened on each stride. While overpronating the IT band is over extending and retracting with each stride.
  2. Surfaces: Functionally the same cause as a leg length discrepancy, crowned roads and banked tracks are just two examples of surfaces that shorten one leg and overextend another. Make sure you switch directions on a track or on the roads to even things out. Also, treadmills suck. Any discrepancies and inefficiencies are multiplied if every single step is on exactly the same surface.
  3. Weak Glutes: Glues=Butt muscles. In very specific terms, if your glute medius is not strong enough your trailing hip on your trailing leg will drop on backwards extension. This can put strain on your IT band as well.
  4. Worn out shoes: Any of the above issues will be multiplied if the cushioning in your running shoes in shot.

How can I overcome ITBS? Lets go over some potential solutions:

  1. Rest: ITBS in an overuse injury. Take a few days off and pound beers and Federal Donuts…Proven recovery supplements.
  2. Foam Rolling: A foam roller is a must have for all runners, but a super duper must have for people with ITBS. Come in to the store, we will show you how to properly use one. It’ll hurt so good when you work that fascia.
  3. Glute Strengthening: Go to the gym, pop some squats, pump out some lunges, go beast mode on some deadlifts and do some glute bridges. This will not only help out your IT bands, but you will look bootylicious at the Jersey Shore.
  4. Stretching: Get a stretching rope, wrap it around your foot and ankle, lie on your back, then bring your leg across your body while trying to keep your back on the ground. Check out some other stretches at www.athletestreatingathletes.com
  5. Insoles: An added insert can be very helpful for many people. Our go to inserts, www.superfeet.com, can help properly align your arches, ankles, knees etc to insure you’re running with proper, healthy form.

If none of these tips help, go to the pros. Our friends at www.Philamassages.com and www.ExcelPhysicalTherapy.com are sure to know the proper solutions for your problems.