Common Running Injuries – Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome

Common Running Injuries – Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome

This is a common injury that I treat quite regularly and occurs most often in sports people and particularly in runners.

The iliotibial band is a sheet of connective tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh from the upper femur to the knee.The function of the ITB is to help to stabilise the knee joint.


Symptoms


These include pain along the outside of the knee or less often the outer hip or anywhere along the outer thigh.
With this injury the ITB is invariably over tight and hence pulls on where it attaches, usually at the lower knee end. This causes friction,inflammation and pain. Sometimes the symptoms come on gradually, beginning with a mild ache, but the pain can become fairly acute during activity.

Cause


The immediate cause may be intense exercise but the underlying cause is a mechanical problem often resulting from a misaligned pelvis, faulty foot mechanics, or a leg length difference.

Treatment


It is always advisable to get ITB treated quickly as if caught early it is usually not difficult to treat with osteopathy and deep tissue bodywork once the underlying mechanical problem has been addressed.


If left untreated however the problem can become very painful and more difficult to treat. Very occasionally severe cases that have not been treated soon enough may require surgery.
So if this syndrome affects you then get it treated as soon as you can, and begin by icing the painful area 3-4 times a day for 10 minutes each time. Depending on how painful the problem is then one may have to discontinue exercise until treatment has reduced the symptoms. Runners will have to avoid hill running and speed workforce for a while. When one does resume running one should try to run on soft surfaces as much as possible.


Prevention


Occasional checks to make sure that the original underlying mechanical problem is not returning is a good idea. Some people may be advised to visit a podiatrist to see if orthotics may be needed to correct faulty foot mechanics.
Regular self massage with a firm foam roller along the ITB is recommended and with a cricket ball to the appropriate muscles in the pelvis according to your own misalignment.
In addition make sure your shoes or training shoes have good heel support and rear foot cushioning.



Graeme Stroud ND, MRN, DO, ACOH is an osteopath, naturopath, certified zen body therapist and a qualified healer.


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Graeme Stroud ND, MRN, DO, ACOH is an osteopath, naturopath, certified zen body therapist and a qualified healer.



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