3. IT Band Syndrome
Ever feel like somebody is stabbing you in the side of the knee when you run, especially when going downhill? This is one of the classic symptoms of IT Band Syndrome, an annoying injury that can often become crippling if not addressed and corrected.
What causes IT Band Syndrome? The short answer is: lots of things. In talking to other runners about their experiences with this injury, the most common correlations I’ve noticed involve downhill running or always running on the same side of the road. Both put a lot of stress on the side of the knee and cause friction between the IT band and the femur. Over time, the IT band tightens and may swell, pain emerges and eventually intensifies to the point where it keeps runners from running.
The fix: Stretching the IT Band, massaging the muscles around the area and foam rolling will help loosen things up, while a regimen of icing and taking ibuprofen will assist in reducing inflammation. Avoid downhill running, and if you always run on the same side of the road, switch directions evry so often. According to Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas’ book, The Runner’s Body, “overcoming this issue is simply a matter of providing variety, which balances out the impact stresses and minimizes injury risk.”