So often do we see athletes, mostly runners, coming into the clinic complaining of pain over the outside of the knee and very often the pain is come from the iliotibial band.
So what exactly is it?
Iliotibial band syndrome is one of the most common lower extremity injuries, especially in long distance running. The iliotibial band (ITB) is a tough band of tissue which extends from the muscles on the outside of the hip down the side of your leg, attaching to the knee.
When carrying our repetitive knee movements, such as in running or cycling, this structure may become tight and rub against the knee during that movement. This repetitive rubbing, causes micro trauma and inflammation, resulting in pain.
Typically, it presents with pain or tenderness over the outside of the knee, which is aggravated by running or climbing and descending stairs.
On all occasions there is an underlying reason to why this has happened.
The ITB can either lack strength or flexibility, hindering its capacity to perform. Commonly, a weakness in the gluteus medius muscle, one of the hip external rotators. This results in the knee falling inwards during the gait cycle.
What you can do to help?
- Rest from aggravating activities
- Use ICE- this will help with inflammation and pain
- Stretch and foam roll the back and front of your hip
- Strengthen the hip external rotators
How can we help?
Although all these things will help, it is important to get the correct diagnosis early on and therefore treatment plan, as each individual is different and will require something more specific to suit them.
During the assessment we will look at the biomechanics of your walking and running gait, look for any muscular imbalances, either tight muscles or weaknesses. Where appropriate we will look further into your training program and type of running/sports shoes worn.
Treatment will address any muscular tension or joint restriction identified, using a variety of techniques. Along with a rehabilitation plan to strengthen any weakened muscles identified, with the aim to improve your biomechanics. If you are experiencing a similar sort of pain and think you may need some additional help, book an appointment so we can help you.