WHAT IS IT?
Iliotibial band syndrome (or ITBS) is the second most common running injury and is characterized by pain on the outside of your knee. The iliotibial (IT) band rubs against a small fluid-filled sac (a bursa), causing pain and inflammation.
Generally, ITBS pain is localized on the outside of the knee and worsens as you continue to run. A study conducted in the Running Injury Clinic lab, and another by a Kentucky researcher, both showed that the main cause of ITBS is increased twisting forces, primarily because of reduced hip muscle strength.
Treat with ice or a cold pack to reduce inflammation. Foam rolling is helpful since it serves to break-up adhesions that form under the IT band as a result of muscle weakness. Interestingly, less than 15% of people with ITBS have tight IT bands, so stretching is not critical. Muscle fatigue is the key reason ITBS pain worsens as you run. Thus, three important muscles need to be strengthened: gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, and tensor fascia latae. These muscles attach to the IT band and reduce the force experienced by the tissue when strengthened. Finally, running in motion control shoes to treat ITBS has actually been shown to increase symptoms and the chance of reccurrence.
Check out the Hip Extension and Hip Abduction videos
Health content provided by Dr. Reed Ferber and the Running Injury Clinic