Understanding and Treating IT Band Syndrome
October 27, 2015
Not all knee problems are actually in the knee. For many runners and endurance athletes, a knee pain that comes on suddenly after an increase in activity level may actually be due to the iliotibial band or IT band on the outside of the thigh. This fibrous band of tissue that runs from the hip to the knee is responsible for stabilizing the knee and keeping it supported. When it becomes irritated and inflamed, it can cause severe pain when the knee is moved, known as IT band syndrome or ITBS.
Most suffers of ITBS began increasing their intensity level of activity before the injury began. They may have been training for a marathon or trying to reach a goal in their fitness routine. The issue usually begins due to inflammation that causes a rubbing of the IT band at the end of the femur. This causes pain during knee movement on the outside of the knee and may make a popping noises as the band rubs against the bone.
For some people with ITBS, rest and ice to bring down the inflammation is all that is needed to mend the problem. However, in more extreme cases, physical therapy may be needed to regain strength and stability for the knee and hip. Experienced sport injury physical therapists can use specific exercises to help strengthen the hip and knee while increasing flexibility to protect the IT band from future injuries.
ITBS can be painful and make it difficult for athletes to continue their training without remedying the issue. Physical therapy is often the best option to ensure that the hip, knee and IT band are all strengthened to prevent further injury and allow the athlete to continue on their fitness journey.
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