IT Band Syndrome is a problem of over usage. It occurs most often in people who are bicyclists, hikers, and runners. It is something I have suffered from so I think it is very important to educate others on how to self treat it.
The IT Band is a wide and flat band that runs from the greater trochanter hip bone down to the fibular head at the outside of the knee. It helps stabilize the knee.
The reason it can get irritated or inflamed is because it can create friction along the lateral/outer knee with repetitive motions. This is especially true if you had a rapid increase in workout duration or frequency.
Signs & symptoms of IT band syndrome are pain at outer knee/thigh, tenderness along the IT band, and possible tight hip musculature.
- Stop whatever activity is aggravating it. Stop. Don’t just cut the mileage in half. You must rest to prevent further inflammation.
- Stretch your legs. This shoulder include stretching your glutes, piriformis, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, and calves. Since the IT Band is not a muscle we cannot exactly stretch it. The stretch shown is more for the TFL muscle which turns into the ITB. So that is where step #4 comes into play. (see picture below)
- Ice your thigh/knee for 15 minutes, 3x/day.
- Massage it. Use a little lotion and massage the entire IT band from top to bottom. Use deep pressure, even if it hurts.
- Foam roll your legs for deep tissue massage. (see our foam roll routine HERE)
- Strengthen your gluteus medius (outer hip).
- Once your pain levels are down, you may slowly begin to go back to your exercise routine. However ease into it. Maybe start with just a mile and take baby steps each day after.
- If things still aren’t better, you may want to visit a Physical Therapist. They can provide other treatment like deep tissue massage, dry needling, and functional assessments that may help.
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