IT Band Syndrome ( NEEDS INTRO AND BETTER CLOSING)
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (a.k.a. Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome, IT Band Syndrome) is a common overuse injury seen in runners and cyclists. Usually, pain starts gradually on the outside of your knee, about an inch above the joint. Over time, the pain may spread up the outside of your thigh or downward to the upper part of your calf. There may also be localized redness and swelling, and the outside of your knee may be sore to the touch.
So what is the “IT Band”?
The Iliotibial Band (a.k.a. IT Band) a band of fibrous tissue – basically a big, thick, wide tendon – that runs along the outside of your thigh. It connects two muscles in your hip area, the TFL and Gluteus Maximus, to the main bone of your low leg and to the outside of your kneecap.
The IT Band helps slow down inward movement of thigh when your foot lands on the ground when running. It’s important to mention that when the knee flexes from straight to being bent about 30 degrees, it gets pressed against a bump on the outside of your thigh bone. When the muscles that pull on your IT band are tight (and often weak), the IT Band can get irritated.
There is some debate among researchers. Traditionally, it was believed that the IT band got irritated by being dragged across the bone. Recent studies have suggested that most of the pain may actually be coming from an irritation of the underlying tissue due to repetitive tightening and relaxation of the band. Either way, the IT band or underlying tissue can become inflamed and sore. Like most overuse injuries, symptoms usually begin gradually.
There are many things that can cause IT Band Syndrome. As with many other running injuries, abnormalities in your gate can increase your chances of developing it. For instance, over-pronation or over-supination of the ankle and weak hip stabilizers that allow the thigh and knee to collapse inward can over-stress the IT Band. Bowed legs or having one leg longer than the other can also contribute.
How you train can also cause your IT band to get irritated. For instance, running downhill or on ground that slopes to one side (like the shoulder of the road) can increase the tension on the IT band where it crosses your thigh bone. Cycling with your toes pointed inward also places extra tension on the IT band. As mentioned earlier, over time the repetitive compression or friction can cause the IT band or underlying tissue to become irritated, causing pain.
Trigger points in your thigh muscles can also mimic IT band syndrome – causing pain along the outside of your leg, from the hip down to the middle calf. Sports activities like squats, lunges, Olympic weightlifting, running and jumping can activate these trigger points. They can also be set off by impacts (like getting tackled or getting beaned with a baseball), muscular imbalances or problems in your hip or low back.
The good news is that Dry Needling and orthopedic acupuncture can help. When you come in for your appointment, we will assess for muscular imbalances, trigger points and anything else that may be contributing to your pain. If you’re an athlete, we’ll also take a look at how move when you walk, squat or do other functional movements.
We’ll most likely use orthopedic acupuncture help address the muscular imbalances in your low leg and any issues we find in you hip stabilizers. We’ll also use electroacupuncture to address the IT band, itself. If trigger points are to blame, we’ll use dry needling to help “deactivate” them – allow them to relax and reduce local inflammation. Treatment of IT band issues usually involves a fair amount of soft tissue mobilization, especially guasha. As with treating other musculoskeletal conditions, the ultimate goal is to restore normal, pain-free movement
We’ll most likely use orthopedic acupuncture help address the muscular imbalances in your low leg and any issues we find in you hip stabilizers. We’ll also use electroacupuncture to address the IT band, itself. If trigger points are to blame, we’ll use dry needling to help “deactivate” them – allow them to relax and reduce local inflammation.
Treatment of IT band issues usually involves a fair amount of soft tissue mobilization, especially guasha. As with treating other musculoskeletal conditions, the ultimate goal is to restore normal, pain-free movement and get you back to doing what you love as quickly as possible.
Pain Points for IT BAND syndrome
- Pain getting in the way of your runs
- Hobbling to the finish line
- Is knee pain hurting your time