July 26, 2017
For all the runners out there, it might feel like pain is part of the game. Regardless of how many miles you run, if you’ve done it for long enough, you’ve probably had your share of injuries. Running-related injuries can range from some occasional soreness in your ankle to a much more serious ligament tear, and each one can get in the way of your normal running routine. One of the most common running injuries is called iliotibial (IT) band syndrome, which involves a ligament in the thigh and results in knee pain. This injury usually results from certain training mistakes, and our Glenn Dale / Bowie physical therapists are here to offer you tips to avoid it.
The IT band is a ligament that begins at the pelvis and runs down the outside part of the thigh and crosses the knee to attach at the top part of the tibia (shinbone). The function of the IT band is to stabilize the outside part of the knee when the foot strikes the ground and it also allows the knee to flex and extend through its entire range of motion.
IT band syndrome occurs when this structure rubs against the knee joint, causing friction and inflammation. It can result from any activity that causes the leg to turn inward on a repeated basis, such as wearing worn-out shoes, running downhill or on banked surfaces frequently, or running too many miles. This is why the condition is so common in runners, however, bicyclists and other athletes who repeatedly squat are also at an increased risk for developing IT band syndrome. It’s also more common in women than men, which may be related to the fact that some women’s hips tilt in a way that causes their knees to turn inward.
The most common symptom of IT band syndrome is pain and swelling on the outside of the knee, which leads some runners to think that they have a knee injury. Pain is usually aggravated by running, but won’t start up until a few miles into each run and will often get worse when running downhill. Since many cases of IT band syndrome are due to training mistakes, our Glenn Dale / Bowie physical therapists offer these tips to help you avoid it.
Training tips to avoid IT band syndrome from our Glenn Dale / Bowie physical therapists
- Decrease your mileage or take some time off if you notice pain on the outside of your knee
- Walk for about a half mile before beginning each run
- Make sure your shoes aren’t worn out on the outside of the sole, and replace them if necessary
- Try to run on flat surfaces as frequently as possible
- When running on a track, change directions regularly
- Don’t run on concrete surfaces if possible
Following these pointers will reduce your chances of developing IT band syndrome, but if you do start to notice symptoms, our Glenn Dale / Bowie physical therapists can help with additional advice and a tailored treatment program. Contact CAM Physical Therapy and Wellness Services at 301-853-0093 to schedule an appointment at any of our three clinics in Laurel, Hyattsville or Glenn Dale / Bowie, MD today, or click here for more information on IT band syndrome.