Many runners experience lateral leg pain in the hips and knees also known as IT band syndrome. The IT or Iliotibial band is a dense tissue that runs along the lateral side of the leg from the hip to the lateral knee. Years ago, it was not uncommon for therapists to aggressively treat this tissue which was very painful and would bruise. The problem was that the IT band would continue to retighten either from the treatment further scarring the area or because the mechanism behind it was not fully understood resulting in the constant tightening of these tissues. We now understand that the IT band is actually part of the fascia lata or the lateral fascia of the leg as described by Myers who wrote Anatomy Trains.
While this is a popular subject among runners who suffer from it, it is also experienced by people who have structural problems and is often misdiagnosed as being hip bursitis and other conditions.
Chiropractors are often the go-to practitioners for runners and other athletes because of their holistic approach to mechanical problems in the body and because they look for the cause, rather than just treat the symptoms. In the case of IT band problems, it is usually a symptom of other gait-related problems that can be evaluated with a holistic exam and history.
The more accurate your diagnosis is, the better your treatment can be. In our office, we use treat – test – treat protocols in which active tests are performed, the patient is treated and those tests are repeated to evaluate improvement. This assures your treatment is more likely to make a difference sooner, and that there is an overall improvement in function once the patient leaves.
Treatment may include Graston Technique, myofascial release, exercises, foot orthotics, spinal and extremity manipulation, and gait training. Occasionally, a treadmill may be used to better diagnose difficult cases.
As many athletes already know, visit your local sports certified or diplomat level chiropractor first for problems such as IT band syndrome, knee pain, foot pain, neck and shoulder pain, and even lower back pain. Their primary care approach to the musculoskeletal system is both comprehensive and avoids invasive and more risky procedures unless they are absolutely needed
Runners World Magazine offers some great tips on how to treat the condition. Check out their self-help tips. If they don’t help, see your chiropractor.
How to get rid of IT band syndrome
Runner, Mile2Marathon coach, and registered physiotherapist Bridget Pyke tells us everything we need to know about the common running injury
IT band syndrome is a common complaint among runners. The symptoms, which include an aching, burning or tenderness on the outside of the knee, feeling a click, pop or snap outside the knee or pain up and down the outside of your thigh, can make running very uncomfortable and eventually force you to stop altogether. We spoke with Bridget Pyke, a runner, physiotherapist and coach with Mile2Marathon in Calgary, who gave us the rundown on why IT band syndrome happens and what you can do to fix it.
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