IT Band Syndrome: Pain Along Outside of Knee
Are you a runner, soccer player or a skater? Do you have pain along the outside of your knee while enjoying any of the above activities? Or do you have pain when walking or running downhill, but not uphill? Do you feel any repetitive snapping or “squeaking” in your knee while walking or running? You might have iliotibial band syndrome!
What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome
The iliotibial band is a thickening of the fascia latae (dense tissue around the thigh) on the outside of the thigh. This reinforced tract of fascia connects both the tensor fascia latae and the gluteus maximus muscles, both of which allows us to run, walk or go down a flight of stairs. When the iliotibial band becomes too tight, or contractured, the knee and hip become restricted and without proper medical attention, can lead to the irritation and inflammation of the iliotibial band (ITB) near the knee, or what the medical community deems as iliotibial band syndrome.
Causes of Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Causes of iliotibial band tightness are activities that shorten both the ITB and the tensor fascia latae such as cycling, horseback riding, prolonged sitting or bedrest. Other activities that also shorten both structures include running in only one direction on a track that is sloped or banked and running with shoes that have inadequate arch support. Cycling on a bicycle seat that’s too high or cycling with improperly adjusted petals can also lead to iliotibial band syndrome.
Treatment & Prevention
However, the first symptom people notice is pain on the outside part of the knee. Iliotibial band syndrome is usually the result of overtraining. By decreasing the amount of time you train, avoid running downhill or running on hard and uneven surfaces, you can still train for your marathon or enjoy your morning jog without pain. Icing the outside of your thigh right after the activity and elevating your legs when resting will also speed up recovery as well. If all else fails, we encourage you to see a well-trained sports physiotherapist, or sports massage therapist, so that you can once again enjoy your activity painfree.
An Easy Stretch for IT Band Syndrome
Until you can see one of our therapists, you may like to try out this quick and easy stretch to alleviate your knee pain. Let’s assume that it’s your right knee that’s bothering you.
- Stand shoulder width apart.
- Take a step back with the right leg
- Now take your right leg and move it as far to the left as you can while easily maintaining your balance.
- Point the toes of your right foot so that it points to your left foot.
- Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and return back to the first position. Do it again for at least two more times. Be sure to repeat the same stretch with your left leg afterwards to maintain a balanced posture!