Found most often in runners, ITB Syndrome occurs when the iliotibial band becomes inflamed, due to repeated friction and rubbing over the nearby bones and muscles. Your IT Band extends all the way from the hip to the knee, where the pain usually occurs, which is why the condition is also sometimes called "runner’s knee."
The IT band’s job is to stabilize the knee while running and walking, so with overuse or improper form, it becomes inflamed and painful as it slides back and forth from front to back with every step. This can make competing or training for an event very difficult, as the pain only gets worse over time, without allowing adequate rest of the affected area.
IT Band Syndrome Symptoms and Causes
Symptoms to watch for include any pain or stinging in and around the knee, even just below it where the band connects to the tibia. The pain and discomfort usually starts mildly and progresses with each run or similar activity, and can start to last long after your runs as it gets worse.
Outside of sports, IT Band Syndrom can even occur farther up near the hip, but this is much more common in the elderly and even pregnant women, as the added weight can put more and more pressure on the area.
There are variety of causes for this pain and discomfort, ranging from poor running form to muscle imbalances that can be corrected through stretching and strength exercises. Over rotation of the foot while running and/or bowleggedness can exacerbate the problem as it increases the range of motion of the iliotibial band, causing more stress and speeding up irritation.
ITB Stretch and Treatment
The first method of treatment is to rest, which means taking at least a few days off from running. It may seem tough, but as with any injury, it’s better to take care of it now and lose a few days of training, then to wait until the problem is more serious and you are forced to take even more time off.
Dr. Furbee can walk you through ITB stretch and foam rolling techniques that will dramatically speed up relief. Both of these methods will help to loosen your tightened band. By using specially-placed tape to help support the iliotibial and take some of the workload off of it, you can experience a lot of relief right away. Custom foot orthotics are also a great option for those with rotation problems or bowleggedness.
While there are a variety of techniques to relieve symptoms and prevent them from coming back, it’s always best to consult a professional in person for the fastest and most long-lasting relief. ITB Syndrome can be a nagging problem that worsens over time, so it is definitely worth taking the time now to correct it, so you can get back to running.