Running is a thrilling way to stay fit and stave off the diseases that come with inactivity and excess weight. Unfortunately, it is hard to keep up with a running or walking schedule when you are dealing with the uncomfortable symptoms of iliotibial band syndrome. Without treatment, you may have to give up your running practice or risk permanent damage to the legs. Athletes who are concerned about interrupting their training plans may want to work on preventing the syndrome in the first place.

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The three major joints of the legs are anchored with a wide strip of ligament that runs down the outside of each limb. This is known as the iliotibial band. The ligament attaches to the hip, the knee, and the side of the shin down to the ankle. Without this band, the force of each step would cause the joints to push outward. Since this band is required for stabilization, it is easily irritated by a variety of injuries and poor running techniques.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Symptoms

Start your treatment process by ruling out other causes of leg pain and similar symptoms. The signs usually associated with Iliotibial Band Syndrome include:

  • Pain and burning on the outer side of either knee
  • Irritation and inflammation that appears just a few minutes after you begin an activity
  • Symptoms that fade with rest but return when active
  • Minor to no swelling
  • Diffused sensations that begin as sharp or stabbing pains
  • Inflammation on the outer sides of the hip

Cause of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

There is a simple cause behind this syndrome. There is a rare chance of birth defects that affect the knee’s function, but most patients cause the problem with their behavior. The process of development usually includes:

  • Excessive running, standing, walking, or other exercises that work the legs
  • Inflammation to the bursa, which is a soft pad that prevents the illiotibial band from rubbing against bone
  • Inadequate rest time for healing

A fall or other injury can also strain the IT band and leave it sore. This kind of trauma will usually result in pain that is constant, not just triggered by activity. If the symptoms don’t heal within a week, seek treatment to rule out more serious bone or muscle damage.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Risks

Many runners put them selves at risk for developing these symptoms with the choices they make while training. A little education go a long way to prevent this disruptive condition, even if you are an experienced runner. Avoid practices that put you at risk like:

  • Challenging runs down hills or at an angle, which puts even more pressure on the band
  • Worn or incorrectly fitted running shoes
  • Poor running technique that twists the leg as it strikes the grounds
  • Excessive exercise without plenty of time to rest between sessions
  • Insufficient stretching and warmup time
  • Running on concrete without extra supportive shoes

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Treatment Options

IT band syndrome doesn’t have to keep you on the sidelines for an entire season if you seek advice and treatment when symptoms first manifest. Take a break from your daily jog and see us in Goose Creek for help with:

  • MRI scans to determine if the tendons are swollen or enlarged
  • Instruction on exercise adjustments that eliminate the irritation
  • Gentle stretching to help you eliminate tension in the hip or knee
  • Massage and pain management for short term injury


© 2023 PM Health Alliance, LLC

© 2023 PM Health Alliance, LLC