You’ve heard of it right? If you’re a runner, you probably HATE it! As runners we are CURSED with an IT BAND! When I get to heaven, God seriously better have a good explanation of why he created the IT band…on second thought, maybe Satan created it.
Why is it such a common injury? What really is going on? If I just foam roll it, will go away right?
A lot of runners seek us with IT Band trouble. It probably accounts for 30% of running related injuries.
- What is the IT Band anyway? The IT band actually is a LOOOONG tendon of the Tensor Fascia Lata. It runs from the pelvis (Ilium) to the outside of the shin bone (Tibia), hence the name–IlioTibial Band. It’s a thick, fibrous tissue.
- Injury to the IT Band: The most common location of IT Band pain/injury is the outside knee where it connects. The band starts creating friction on that area and it gets inflamed. Since running is a very repetitive action, over and over the friction occurs…pain and inflammation ensue. NOW I CAN’T RUN!
- Causes? No two cases are exactly alike, but here are some contributing factors:
- Too much increase in training volume. You’ve heard me talk about this in other posts, I’m sure. If you bump up your mileage by 100-200%, you are risking an injury. Fatigue sets in, our form collapse, and the IT Band gets loaded more aggressively…AAAANd gets injured.
- Poor proximal stability: Translation? Weakness in the pelvis and hip muscles. During contact phase of running when one leg is on the ground we need good hip/pelvis control. If we don’t an excessive amount of thigh rotation occurs and frictions the IT band…Boooooooo
- Over striding: You’ve watched a lot of runners. Form varies. Research says there really is no PERFECT form; however, if you tend to have a looong stride and land with that foot too far out in front, you place excessive stress to the lateral knee. So, keep that foot underneath you.
- Finally, poor mobility of the IT Band tissue. If the last 2-3 inches of the IT Band tissue are stiff, it can create more friction and pain. Here is a video on how we measure its mobility. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IC-bBuBfduo
- At times it’s due a more complicated issue related to a runner’s movement pattern or as we PT nerds call it..biomechanics. This requires a deeper assessment or “digging” if you will.
If you suffer from IT Band syndrome, we’d love to help. It’s our specialty!
Charlie Boeyink, MPT, OCS, CWC
Owner, Physical Therapist, Endurance Coach
Cadence Physical Therapy and Performance Coaching
20100 N 51st Ave
F-640, Suite #9
Glendale AZ 85308