One of the most common causes of knee pain in runners, iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is an inflammation of the iliotibial band, which runs along the lateral part of the knee and extends from the pelvis. The iliotibial band stabilizes and supports the knee during running, but with improper training habits, imbalances due to stretching or running on uneven surfaces, and other possible causes, the band can become inflamed and cause the athlete pain.
Symptoms of ITB syndrome can range anywhere from a slight stinging above the knee to visible swelling around the affected area over the femur. Isolating ITB syndrome symptoms from other knee problems can be as simple as bending your knee at a 45-degree angle. Pain on the outside of the knee will signify this issue. An MRI can give a more accurate diagnosis of ITB syndrome and show a thickening of the IT band.
As with many overuse injuries, proper form and preventive actions are the best way to avoid ITB syndrome. Avoiding excessive running on sloped or banked tracks, up and down hills, and other sloped surfaces (like the edge of a street or road) can help guard against muscular imbalances while exercising. Making sure your shoes are in good condition and fit your feet properly is also important, but stretching and caring for your knees is perhaps the most important step. If you feel pain on the outside of your knee while jogging or exercising, dial down your mileage or take a few days off to stretch and recover before starting again.
Treating ITB syndrome means identifying the issue, finding the cause, and undertaking a corrective movement treatment plan. Sports physicians can recommend lower-impact training like swimming, cycling, or rowing to prevent further ITB syndrome complications. If after a few weeks the problem hasn’t cleared up, a cortisone injection, fascial tissue massage, or surgery may be necessary. Thankfully, the majority of ITB syndrome cases resolve without the need for drastic measures like surgery or injections.
To find out more about treating overuse injuries like ITB syndrome, contact Velo Sports Rehab. Our physicians and sports medicine experts can identify problems and develop individualized treatment programs to get your body back to a healthy state. Call for an appointment today.