ITB Myth Busters
10 Dec 2015
ITB syndrome- the most common overuse injury in runners
- Anatomy of ilio-tibial Band (ITB)
ITB is a thick band of fascia that is a continuation of themuscle Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL), it runs from the outside of the hip down over the knee joint to attach just below the knee.
ITB is a structure that cannot be lengthened itself, however TFL can be, interestingly they have taken ITB out of cadavers (dead bodies) and hung mini coopers off of them and they still haven’t stretched. Do you think hammering away at it with a “foam roller” is really doing anything other than causing you pain?
The continual rubbing of the band over the outside of the knee during the repeated bending & straightening of the knee may cause the area to become inflamed. ITB is integral for knee stability during activity, it moves from behind the thigh bone to the front during activity. Your ITB does not just decide it is going to become painful, there are factors that can pre-dispose you: running downhill, old & worn trainers, poor gluteal strength or always running on the same side of the road are common culprits. Weak gluts can result in your pelvis dropping when you heel strike meaning you increase the load going through ITB/TFL as well as changing the biomechanics of how the knee works. This can lead to pain on the outside of the knee- runner’s knee.
- Treating your own ITBS
One question you will all be asking is “do I need to stop running”? If it’s painful as soon as you run then sadly yes, however it is common to develop pain after a certain distance (when you’re muscles are fatiguing and losing efficiency). If this is the case then keep your running up but stop before pain starts, this way you’re not going to lose fitness and you’re not provoking the symptoms. WIN WIN!!
In addition to stretching TFL, gluteal strengthening is normally paramount and here are my favourite:
Hip Abduction in side-lying with Thera-band:
Clam with Thera-band
Bridge with leg extension
Squat crab walks with band
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