IT Band Syndrome
What Is Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome?
If you’ve got a nagging pain on the outer part of your knee, especially if you’re a runner, it could be a symptom of iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome. It’s an injury often caused by activities where you bend your knee repeatedly, like running, cycling, hiking, and walking long distances.
Your IT band is a thick bunch of fibers that runs from the outside of your hips to the outside of your thigh and knee down to the top of your shinbone. If your IT band gets too tight, it can lead to swelling and pain around your knee.
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What Causes IT Band Syndrome?
The problem is friction where the IT band crosses over your knee. A fluid-filled sac called a bursa normally helps the IT band glide smoothly over your knee as you bend and straighten your leg.
But if your IT band is too tight, such as when you skip stretching before exercising, bending your knee creates friction. Your IT band and the bursa can both start to swell, which leads to the pain of IT band syndrome. But, here’s the real catch: it isn’t typically the IT Band that is the cause of the problem—it's the muscles in the hip that attach at the top of the IT Band. A successful ITBS treatment plan will include treating the muscles that are the root cause of the problem!
IT Band Syndrome Treatment
Reduce Pain and Inflammation
The initial phase focuses on reducing pain and inflammation and increasing mobilization of the ITB. Rest, ice, NSAIDs, and topical anti-inflammatories are all effective in this initial phase. Occasionally, a corticosteroid injection can help—when used judiciously with the understanding that the injection is not curing the injury—to reduce the pain and enable one to move on to the next phase.
Massage and Stretching
Treatment progresses by using deep-tissue massage, a necessary step before moving on to strengthening. Experts recommend frequent massage: every day for elites and two or three times per week for recreational runners. Maintain fitness with cross-training that does not aggravate the condition. (If it hurts, try something else.) After the pain subsides, add stretching while continuing deep tissue massage.
Contact Our Tampa Sports Massage Therapists
The goal of the licensed massage therapists at Tampa Bay Sports & Medical Massage is to help our clients heal and relax. At our South Tampa, FL massage therapy clinic, we fix broken people. Contact us today to book a professional massage with our expert sports massage therapists!