Iliotibal Band Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Ryan Whitford

Hello friendly fitness folks! I hope this finds you all well and recovered from your last race.

This month I have picked for discussion the Iliotibial (IT) Band, because of the increasedmileage that we will be getting in during the warmer months and the likelihood of this injury popping up during our training. This band of fibrous tissue starts at your hipbone and runs down the outside of your leg to just below your knee. People who are prone to this injury are folks who have a malalignment problem, a large Q-angle, 'bow-legged', excessive foot pronation, or a leg length discrepancy. Also runners who constantly run on the same side of the road are at risk.  Roads are crowned so that water will run off, and consequently, one leg always runs lower than the other and places considerable strain on the lateral structures.

Initially, pain is present in the IT band only while running. As the condition progresses, pain is evident in running downhill/uphill, climbing stairs, and eventually during walking. It is particularly intense during the weight-bearing part of a stride from foot-strike through mid-stance.

Self-management therapies for this problem include: ice, compression, elevation,NSAIDs (e.g. ibuprofen, Aleve), and rest until acute symptoms subside.  Stretching exercises should include the hip flexors, lateral thigh muscles, and the inner thigh. .Foot orthotics may correct some structural problems. Non-weight-bearing strengthening exercises for the entire leg are advisable.  Avoid running with pain, and an ice massage before and after a run may help. Being in the wrong 'type' of shoe may also be a contributing factor.

Don't try running through IT band syndrome and think, 'Oh it will go awayeventually'. It will come back to haunt you and keep you out of running longer, than if you treat your pain NOW!!

A last thought: when your car starts to break down - you go have someone check it out and see what needs to be fixed. Right? Right. Then why do we wait, when our bodies start to break down to see if the problems will go away by themselves? Take yourself in to have someone check it out; ignoring what you body is saying to you will only lead to further injuries.

On that note, feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions about this or other injuries.

Take care and many happy days,
Ryan Whitford

For additional information on knee pain go to the Mayo Clinic web site.