What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?
The Iliotibial band (ITB) experiences friction as it passes over the femur bone, back and forth over the epicondyle (bony bit on the outside of the knee). When the knee bends at around 20-30 degrees the IT band experiences the greatest friction. This is about the range where a runners knee is bent and the foot hits the floor, making this condition fairly common in runners. Symptoms of ITB syndrome include pain on the outside of the knee which is worse running downhill and often starts at the same position during each run. As the condition worsens, the pain may start earlier in the run and may last for a day or two after exercise.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome Treatment
Treatment of iliotibial band syndrome involves firstly reducing the pain and inflammation in the band, then stretching and strengthening specific muscles to prevent re-occurrence and a very gradual return to a full training regime. Cold therapy will aid with the reduction of inflammation and should be applied regularly. Rest should be taken from any activity that aggravates the injury, until pain free. Strengthening exercises are recommended as well as ongoing stretches for the IT band and Tensor Fascia Latae muscle. Sports massage, foam roller or fascia release can be very helpful in reducing tension in the IT band.
Cold therapy packs or wraps should be used in the early stages of IT band syndrome to reduce the pain and inflammation at the site of injury. An Iliotibial band strap is a knee support which wraps around the lower thigh or kneecap and thigh, and the pressure over the IT Band takes some of the shock by dampening the forces going through the tendon when running.