If you have come to my website searching for IT band syndrome, chances are that you are currently struggling with IT band (i.e. ilitibial band) and feeling discomfort on the outside of your leg and outer portion of your knee. You have tried to rest, ice the area, use various sports creams,foam rolling, stretching but nothing seems to help. Why is this the case and why is so hard to get rid of IT band syndrome?
IT band (short for iliotibial band) is a thick band of fibrous connective tissue that runs from your hip bone all the way down to the outer side of your knee and shin. IT band provides knee support and is heavily connected to glutes and hip stabilizers. This is important to note – even though you might have pain at the knee joint, the mechanical cause of you pain might be in your hips or somewhere else (i.e. glutes not “working” properly, which affects the knee joint and then this affects the IT band).
Like any other type of overuse injury, iliotibial band syndrome is no different. You are doing something that your IT band doesn’t like and you are doing it over and over again. Typical client that I see who has IT band problems is a runner or a cyclist, who has either or all of the following characteristics:
1. Knee collapse (i.e. knee valgus) when running and/or performing lunges. When moving your knee inwards, toward your other knee, IT band is rubbing against the bone and this friction results in local inflammation and pain.
2. Cross over when running – excessively crossing with your foot toward the other side.
3. Pelvic drop – during stance phase, one side of your pelvis drops down.
4. Femoral (i.e. thigh bone) inward rotation – your thigh rotates inwardly.
5. Poor single leg stance – individual cannot maintain single leg balance and perform basic single leg exercises like single leg squat, hops, lunges and single leg hip hinge. Poor hip muscle strength and adequate motor control are the main reasons why someone is unable to properly demonstrate these movements.
IT Band Syndrome Fix – Hip Strengthening and Running Form Training
In order to remove pain and let the IT band heal properly, we need to focus on the movements that are irritating IT band. More specifically, when running, we need to prevent previously mentioned: crossover, knee valgus and pelvic drop.
Correcting running form starts with engaging the right muscles. This is achieved with progressive strength training that is focused on glutes and hip stabilizers. Often times, I would see tight adductors (inner thigh muscles) as well, which negatively affect running mechanics and pull legs into crossover position. Fixing asymmetries between the sides, is another focus area. Once we correct these structural issues, then we need to focus on running form. Doing running drills and providing real-time feedback on treadmill is key.
All of these form changes take time, but they are necessary steps to get rid of IT band syndrome if you want to continue training at the same intensity and volume pain-free. Contact us today if you want to streamline the process and get back to your training pain-free.
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