IT Band Syndrome
If you are a runner, cyclist, or weight lifter, you may already know about IT Band Syndrome. This condition is an injury to the thigh and commonly found in those sports. IT Band Syndrome causes pain on the outside of the knee during activity. The reason why it’s called the IT Band Syndrome is because it’s the IT Band that runs from the pelvis all the way down to just below the knee, which is involved. Whenever you run or move, this band of tissue stabilizes your knee. The IT Band is inflamed in this condition. The symptoms may include swelling of the area on the outside of the knee or right above the knee joint. The stinging pain may be felt when the foot strikes the floor. Many types of sports are associated with the IT Band Syndrome. Martial arts, mountain climbing, performing squats and deadlifts, running, cycling and even bowling can worsen the IT Band symptoms. Cause Not warming up properly before exercising is one of the main causes of this disorder, but there are many improper training habits that can contribute to it, including: • Cycling with toes turned inward on the pedals • Running up and down stairs or up and down hills • Running on the shoulder of a road • Hiking, walking or running long distances that you’re not used to It’s not just bad training habits that are the culprit. The way your feet land on the ground during running or walking should be perfect; otherwise this IT Band will be overstressed in the body. Any foot anomaly such as high arches, low arches causing flat feet will stress the IT Band, as well. And like other foot and leg disorders, imbalances in the muscles especially the hip muscles could also be a cause. Treatment and Prevention If your foot has faulty biomechanics, orthotic arch supports are essential to restore some of the balance needed to alleviate this condition. So is muscle strengthening and re-balancing. Physical therapists often teach patients with IT Band Syndrome to loosen up the area with a foam roller. Changing bad training habits is also important. Some trainers recommend compression wraps or athletic taping to strengthen the knee and decrease the pain during activity. Surgery may be necessary if the condition doesn’t respond to conservative treatment.