Table of Contents
3. IT Band Syndrome
The symptoms: Your iliotibial (IT) band is a tendon that connects your knee to your hip. IT band syndrome (ITBS) results when this tendon becomes inflamed. ITBS has been compared to the feeling of somebody stabbing you in the side of the knee when you run, especially when going downhill. This annoying and painful injury can quickly become crippling if not addressed and corrected.
The causes: The short answer is: lots of things. Running downhill and always running on the same side of the road are common culprits. 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 the pain eventually intensifies to the point where it keeps runners from running.
The fix: Massaging the quadriceps and hamstring muscles around the area, and using a foam roller on the affected area will help loosen things up, while a regimen of icing and taking an anti-inflammatory will assist in reducing inflammation. If possible, see if Active Release Technique, a movement-based treatment for soft-tissue injuries that helps to break up scar tissue and restore normal function, is available where you live. Avoid aggressive downhill running, and if you always run on the same side of the road, switch directions every so often. Finally, strengthen your hips, quads and hamstrings and glutes, but only after you’ve been able to alleviate pain.
RELATED: How To Beat IT Band Syndrome