Iliotibial Band Syndrome (IT Band Syndrome) is a common injury our chiropractors here at Arlington Pain and Rehab treat. It is painful, frustrating, and can linger if not properly treated. Runners, whether seasoned veterans or beginners, can find themselves suffering from knee pain caused by IT Band Syndrome. So, what exactly is IT Band Syndrome?
IT Band Syndrome, also known as Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome, or Runner’s Knee, is an overuse injury that causes inflammation and pain on the outside of the knee. The IT band is a thick strip of fascia that runs along the femur from the hip down to where it attaches on the tibia, or shin. It crosses the knee joint and tracts above the lateral condyle of the femur, a bony bump on the outside of the knee. Between the IT band and this bump is a fluid filled bursa sac that helps reduce friction and rubbing of the IT band as the knee flexes and extends, the exact motion required while running. This repetitive movement of the knee, coupled with inward rotation of the leg, tightens the IT band over the bursa sac, forming an impingement zone. The repetitive compression leads to inflammation of the IT band, bursa sac, and a highly innervated fat pad in the area, leaving all too many runners in pain and underperforming (peakformhealthcenter.com).
It is not solely the repetitive flexing and extending of the knee that causes IT Band Syndrome. A key factor is the inward rotation of the leg during such repetitive motion. This inward rotation is what causes the added compression and friction in the impingement zone, and can be due to many different factors. Old, worn down shoes or flat arches can over-pronate the foot, which will pull the ankle into a poor position and rotate the knee and leg in toward the midline of the body. Running long distances on uneven ground like the side of the road, or running laps in the same direction on an angled track over and over again can cause inward rotation of the leg as well. While training, try to alter your terrain and alternate directions as you run on the track. Outside factors aside, poor running mechanics that stem from the ankle, knee, hip, or torso can cause inward rotation of the leg. Weakness in the hip musculature that keep the knee from rotating in can also leave a runner experiencing IT Band Syndrome (runnersworld.com). Our doctors have also observed that runners who have a long leg/short leg discrepancy, where one of their legs is slightly longer than the other, typically have IT Band Syndrome on their long leg.
Runner’s World has named IT Band Syndrome as “one of the most common overuse injuries among runners” (runnersworld.com). In fact, IT Band Syndrome is the culprit behind 1 in every 20 leg injuries in runners. IT Band Syndrome doesn’t just attack runners either. 1 in every 25 leg injuries in athletes performing vigorous physical training is caused by IT Band Syndrome (Ingraham, 2016).
IT Band Syndrome can be a difficult injury to overcome, and if left untreated can linger for months, greatly hindering training efforts and performance. With chiropractic care and an effective treatment plan, a severe case of IT Band Syndrome can be healed in 4-6 weeks (winchesterhospitalchiro.com). Our chiropractors at Arlington Pain and Rehab can evaluate the range of motion of the knee, examine the muscles around the knee for myofascial adhesions that affect movement patterns, adjust the body to ensure proper alignment, and perform gait analysis to correct improper running form. We also use a 3D Foot Leveler Imaging tool to identify asymmetries throughout the body and fit runners with corrective orthotics. This is especially helpful for runners with a long leg/short leg discrepancy. Depending on the individual runner’s specific issue causing IT Band Syndrome, our chiropractors will design a treatment plan that may include self myofascial release of muscular adhesions, improvement of poor running mechanics, and physical therapy exercises to strengthen the muscles of the hips, knees, and ankles. Our team at Arlington Pain and Rehab can help relieve you of knee pain, get you back to training, and shave seconds, if not minutes, off of your race times!
*First image retrieved from https://sites.google.com/site/mjbedu/itb-1
*Second image retrieved from https://www.painscience.com/tutorials/iliotibial-band-syndrome.php
“A Patient’s Guide to Iliotibial Band Syndrome.” Winchester Hospital Chiropractic Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. http://www.winchesterhospitalchiro.com/iliotibial_band_syndrome.html.
“Iliotibial Band Syndrome.” Peak Form Health Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. http://peakformhealthcenter.com/iliotibial-band-syndrome-itbs-university-heights-san-diego/.
Ingraham, Paul. “Save Yourself from IT Band Syndrome!” Pain Science. N.p., 13 Sept. 2016. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. “http://www.painscience.com/tutorials/iliotibial-band-syndrome.php.
“IT Band Syndrome.” Runner’s World. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2016. http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/it-band-syndrome.