Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), is a common injury that occurs in the thigh especially among those who enjoy running, hiking, cycling and those who do squats while weight-lifting. The iliotibial band is a superficial thickening of tissue on the thigh that extends from the outer pelvic area (at the tensor fascia latae muscle) and stretches down to just below the knee.
Causes Of Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Iliotibial band syndrome can be caused if an individual has weak hip abductor muscles or a weak/non-firing multifidus muscle. (Although it was several years ago, the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine , July 2000, published results from an interesting study that compared 24 runners who suffered with ITBS with 30 healthy runners. They found that the injured runners had significantly weaker hip abductors than the healthy runners.)
If a person has abnormalities in their leg or feet such as an uneven leg length, high or low arches, bowlegs, or supination of the foot then they may be prone to ITBS.
In addition, if a person runs, then they too may get iliotibial band syndrome if they:
- Engage in excessive running up and/or down a hill.
- Run up and down stairs.
- Run on a banked surface.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome Symptoms
ITBS symptoms range from a somewhat stinging sensation that occurs just above the knee joint (on the outside area where the iliotibial band is located) to tissue swelling (or thickening) where the band moves over the femur. The individual may not feel pain right away during an activity but it may intensify over a period of time. ITBS is typically progressive, starting with tightness and often advancing to the point where the pain is debilitating. When the pain has progressed, it is most severe when the individual walks or runs as the heel strikes the ground. Pain radiates from the knee up the leg to the hip. Pain may also be experienced as the knee flexes, especially when walking up or down stairs.
Pain is a signal to the individual or to the runner that a problem exists. Continuing activities that cause pain is not advised – rest and ice is recommended. If pain persists then this may also be a signal that perhaps there is a biomechanical problem that may lead to further injuries.
Stretching is an important part of a treatment program to help alleviate the pain of ITBS. In addition to stretches that are recommended by a health professional, deep tissue massage along the full length of the iliotibial band will help.
Stretching and massage must be done by a health professional that has the experience in working with ITBS patients. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre has worked with many ITBS patients and they know that healing is only half of the treatment.
In addition to the healing phase, there is a very important phase, that being the strengthening of the hip and thigh muscles. This process is best done under the supervision of a health professional who helps the patient with what specific exercises must be done in order to strengthen muscles, not re-injure them.
Physical therapy may not be enough, because if the cause of ITBS is mechanical, then the patient may require proper shoes or orthotics. Orthotic shoe inserts can help to correct imbalances.
As with any injury, following the direction of your health professional is important in order to facilitate healing, recovery and rebuilding. Chiro-Med Rehab Centre in Richmond Hill has a convenient location and highly qualified health professionals to help you get back to activities you once enjoyed. Call 905-918-0419 for more information.