Most of us suffer from some kind of a bone or muscle problem that causes pain. The reason for it may be age or lifestyle. Unfortunately, runners are even more vulnerable to injuries of this type as they put a lot strain on the muscles and bones. One of the injuries it can lead to is the band injury or Iliotibial band syndrome. This type of injury is common in cyclists and runners.
The IT Band injury puts a strain basically on the knee and the hip joints. It does not usually occur instantaneously but starts with a cramp or ache and rapidly goes on to become a debilitating sports injury, sidelining the best of runners.
The band is a thick tendon-like piece of another muscle which is called tensor fasciae latae which passes down the outside of the thigh and inserts just below the knee. If one observes the frontal view of the right thigh muscle, it can be seen that it runs right to the knee. This thick band is called the iliotibial band or iliobial track. When the tensor fasciae latae muscle and the band become stiff it results in knee pain or pain directly on the IT Band. The tension between them causes the tendon to displace the knee joint out of its position which causes irritation and swelling.
The causes of iliotibial band syndrome or ITB are mainly too much running when your body is unprepared and/or biomechanical errors. Overload is commonly associated with sports which involve loads of running as well as weight bearing activity which is basically why it is common in runners. The tensor fasciae latae muscles become fatigued and they cannot adequately support the entire leg. This subsequently puts pressure on the knee joint causing injury and ache.
Overload on IT Band can be the result of
· Running on hard surfaces, like concrete
· Running on rough ground
· Starting an running plan after a long break
· Increasing running intensity or duration too quickly
· Running in worn out or ill fitting shoes
· Extreme ascending or descending while running
Biomechanical errors comprise:
· Leg length differences
· Tight, inflexible muscles leg
· Muscle imbalances
· Foot structure problems like flat feet
· Running style problems like pronation.
Treatment for IT Band:
First and foremost, the cause of the ITB injury must be identified; whether it’s an overload problem or a biomechanical error. Then you should first eliminate or not repeat the cause.
The treatment for people who have an ITB injury is similar to the treatment of most soft tissue based injuries. R.I.C.E. should be applied immediately following the commencement of any kind of ITB pain. R.I.C.E. means R-Rest, I-Ice, C-Compression and E-Elevation. To ensure that you get complete recovery, RICE must be implemented for at least 48 to 72 hours after the injury.
Last but not the least, prevention is always better than a cure. So if you are over trained allow your body adequate amount of rest and recovery. Warm up your body enough before exercising. Follow a regular strengthening and stretching routine. Also invest in proper running shoes suited to your running style. For more information about IT Band syndrome, visit Runner’s World.
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