ITB Syndrome

What is it?

 

ITB (Ilio-Tibial Band) Syndrome is an overuse injury of the connective causing lateral knee pain. The ITB is an important stabiliser of the lateral part of the knee as the joint bends and straightens. 

 

Inflammation occurs as the band travels back and forth across the outside of the knee on straightening and bending the knee. Pain is often described as sharp and/or burning on the outside of the knee, which can be accompanied with swelling. Symptoms are usually felt on the heel strike during running as well as going up/down stairs.

 

Why would I suffer with this?

 

This injury is most common in long distance runners, cyclists and in athletes who repeatedly squat. One might consider the following factors if you have lateral knee pain:

 

# Excessive up and down hill running

# A sudden increase in distance running

# Poor muscle flexibility around the hips and legs

# Mechanical imbalances:

> Consider low back, pelvis, hip, knee, ankle and foot function

> Weak Gluteal, Hip rotators and inner Quadriceps muscles

> Poor foot arch control

 

What you can do to help yourself

 

For an injury you have just picked up, you need to address the swelling and pain. Apply a cold pack to the outside of your knee for 15 minute intervals and rest from any activities that worsen your knee pain. Keep your knee moving, even if it's performing gentle leg swings whilst sitting down. For a chronic, longstanding injury, heat is a useful modality to use to encourage blood flow to the region.

 

Get it assessed by your healthcare professional to diagnose the injury, and to ascertain why the injury occurred in the first place. Your therapist will assess your low back, hip, knee, ankle and foot mechanics to see if they play a role in your knee pain. Mobility, flexibility and functional strength are key in allowing an injury to heal and as preventative care.

 

Your trainers may be a problem. Ensure you have the appropriate support to reflect your running style. Stretches to your Glutei, Hip flexors, Quadriceps and Hamstrings will help take the strain off the knee to allow recovery and slowly build in some strength work where it is needed. 

 

Once you are pain free and have full function in your knee, then it is important your return to running is slow and gradual when it comes to increasing the miles. Any sign of pain? It is important to stop and go back to your rehab, you are essentally testing the boundaries to see where you are in your jouney to recovery.

 

Preventative care

 

Once you are back up running, it is vital you stay on top of your mobility, flexibility and strength work. If you fully understood your previous injury then you should have the necessary tools to help reduce the chances of reinjury occurring.

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