OH My Aching Knee
If you’ve ever had IT band issues you know how painful it can be and how difficult it is to return to running and biking. As an athlete who has successfully rebound from IT band issues, my goal with this article is to provide advice from one athlete to another. If you are having any mechanical issues I highly recommend that you get diagnosed and treated by a medical professional.
So what is Iliobitibial band syndrome (AKA IT Band, runners knee)? It is a common injury usually associated with running and biking. The pain from the IT can be debilitating, so much so that even seasoned runners can’t run a mile without excruciating pain. As a sufferer of chronic IT band issues, I can attest that the pain can become unbearable, especially when you push it too hard.
What and where is the IT band? The IT band is made up of fascia which is a stiff connective tissue (like tendons and ligaments) that surrounds muscles, bones, and joints, providing both support and protection. This tissue runs down the outside of the thigh from the pelvis to just below the shin.
How do I know if I have IT band issues? You will have pain along the lateral (outside) of the knee; you might also feel some clicking in this area. The symptoms often become worse when running up or down hills. You might also feel tightness in the IT band itself with tender trigger points within the gluteus. You may have pain during flexion or extension of the knee. If the symptoms are ignored, inflammation can continue and scarring may occur. You might find yourself with decreasing knee range of motion, causing increasing pain with decreasing activity.
What Causes IT Band Syndrome?
- Naturally tight IT band
- Excessive hill running
- Different leg length [one leg longer than the other]
- Weak hip muscles [hip dysfunction]
- Over pronation of the foot
What can I do to fix it?
- Rest. However, for some (like me) rest alone doesn’t help.
- Self-release using a foam roller
- Hip mobility stretches
- Strengthen the hip/glutes with these exercises http://youtu.be/N1f2VUZYa7w http://youtu.be/aOqY-uo9p7E http://youtu.be/qnMmJQuNBxQ
- Try to avoid excessive uphill or downhill running
- Do these IT band stretches throughout the day
- Try deep tissue message
- Try A.R.T [Active Release Technique]
Follow my training for my first Ironman 140.6 where I will be doing the run portion in USMC combats in support of our troops.