IT band syndrome is caused by overuse, and is common in endurance athletes like runners and bikers. It affects the tissue that runs from the side of your hip all the way down past your knee. Most of the time, the inflammation manifests itself as pain on the outside of the knee, but can leave you with a deep aching in your hip. Researchers have found that weak hip muscles can be one of the biggest reasons why people get IT band syndrome. Usually, hip weakness contributes to faulty movement patterns; over time, the tightness of the IT band increases.
When your knee flexes and extends, the IT band rubs over the thigh bone and causes inflammation. When the IT band is inflamed, it doesn't move easily, causing pain. It can be a difficult injury to heal and take a long time to overcome. Here are some helpful tips that can prevent IT band syndrome and help you to heal.
4 Helpful Tips:
- Aside from icing and resting for a few days, you may need to change your running/exercise regimen. Sometimes this can be as easy as avoiding repetitive movements.
- Remember to stretch to keep the hips loose and the IT band limber. Use a foam roller or a tennis ball to work out tight muscles. Focus on your hip flexors, hips abductors, internal rotators, and gluteus maximus and medius while stretching.
- Strengthen the muscles most commonly affected, like those in your hips and thighs, by doing exercises that target the larger muscle groups.
- Overworn shoes can cause your feet to land at awkward angles, putting stress on the knees and hips. Keeping your shoes within their recommended mileage is crucial.
Resolving your IT band syndrome can be as easy as changing the way you run. Find a professional to look at your running gait — utilizing their expertise can help fix your running mechanics to get to the root of the issue. If your pain lingers for longer than a few weeks after trying the above-mentioned tips, it may be time to talk to a healthcare provider for more individualized treatment.
For an in-depth evaluation of your hip and knee pain, please give us a call at (833) 872-4477.
Dr. Benjamin Domb is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in Sports Medicine and Hip Arthroscopy. He is the Founder and Medical Director at American Hip Institute and is rated amongst the Top Doctors in the USA by the NY Times, US News & World Report, and Castle Connelly. Dr. Domb is a global leader in Hip Arthroscopy and Robotic Surgery for over a decade.