ITBS – Iliotibial Band Syndrome
A common complaint for runners, cyclists and weight lifters is Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome. ITB syndrome is one of the leading causes of lateral (outside) knee pain in runners. It occurs when the iliotibial band, the fascia (tissue) that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the top of the shin, becomes tight or inflamed.
Cause of ITBS
It is really important to get to the root cause of ITBS. Normally there is an underlying weakness in the gluteal muscles which then causes the TFL and ITB to tighten so if you just stretch out the ITB/TFL without strengthening the right muscles it will keep coming back. Also, a sudden increase in mileage can be another thing which causes ITBS so be careful to slowly increase your mileage, don’t suddenly ramp it up.
How can physiotherapy/sports massage help with ITBS?
The best treatment for ITB syndrome is massage combined with certain stretches and exercises some of which are listed below.
Please be aware of your body and take advice from your GP before exercising or send an email to physio-logical for advice and guidance.
Rest – it is really important to listen to your body. If it is painful to walk then it is best to rest from running, it may be that you cross train instead. Make sure you find an activity which is pain free both during and after.
Ice – apply for 10-15 minutes over the painful area to help ease the pain and inflammation (make sure you protect your skin with a damp towel).
Massage/Foam roller – massage non painful areas of ITB, focus on TFL up the top (muscle which tightens which then pulls on the ITB).
Stretches – ITB/TFL
Early Strengthening Exercises
These are if your knee is very painful and you are struggling to walk. It is really important to start with low level exercises to activate the muscles before you try and do high level exercises. These are not functional for running but after a few days of switching the muscles back on you can progress to the more functional exercises.
All these exercises should be repeated 2 x a day but repetitions should be guided by comfort, please do not push into pain otherwise it will switch the muscles off you are trying to switch back on.
Inner Range Quads
Later Strengthening Exercises
As soon as comfortable then progress onto the next exercises, even if you can only manage 3-4 reps pain free, repeat 2 x a day.
Side Leg Raises
Single leg Dip
It you are suffering from ITBS or any other running injuries then we can help you get to the root cause and ease your symptoms using hands on treatments to release the tight muscles. We also work together with you giving you the right rehabilitation exercises to do and progress through to get you back to achieving your running goals.
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