Iliotibial Band Syndrome (IT Band Syndrome)
Treat It Right
Iliotibial band syndrome, or IT band syndrome, is a condition related to inflammation, tightening, and sometimes thickening of your iliotibial band. The IT band is a tendon that runs from your hip to your knee on the outer side of your legs. The syndrome has several names, including IT band friction syndrome, ITB syndrome, and ITBS. They all mean the same thing: the IT band has become irritated and inflamed due to friction resulting from repeatedly rubbing against your knee or hip joints.
Who Is at Risk for IT Band Syndrome?
In general, you are more at risk for IT band syndrome if you are very active. Overtraining is a common cause of ITBS. People more susceptible can include:
- Long distance runners
- Soccer players
- Basketball players
And even if you’re not an athlete, there are certain conditions and biomechanical factors that elevate your risk of developing ITBS, including:
- Knee arthritis
- Bowed legs
- Having one leg that’s longer than the other
- Rotating your leg, ankle, or foot inward when you walk or run (overpronation)
- High arches
- Flat feet
- Muscle weakness in your hips, butt, or abdomen
Women are more likely to suffer from iliotibial band syndrome than men.
How Common is IT Band Syndrome?
Iliotibial band syndrome was first observed in Marine trainees in 1975. Today, nearly 20% of Marine trainees get it. It’s estimated that ITBS accounts for about 12% of running injuries in the general population. It’s obviously more common among people who run or are active in a sport involving running.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome Symptoms
Depending on what movements have caused the IT band inflammation, symptoms of IT band syndrome can include:
- Hip pain
- Knee pain
- Clicking or snapping sound at your hip or knee (crepitus)
- Warmth and redness of the knee
- Pain that’s worse when you go downhill
- Pain that increases the more you exercise
The pain will first start after exercise. It can then increase while you exercise, and can proceed to constant pain even when you’re at rest.
IT Band Syndrome FAQs
Q: How is iliotibial band syndrome diagnosed?
A: If you’re an athlete displaying symptoms of ITBS, your provider may administer IT band syndrome tests, called the Noble and Ober tests. These tests are performed during a physical exam where you lie on your unaffected side and involves:
- Feeling your lateral epicondyle on the outside of your knee while bending your knee back and forth to see if your iliotibial band syndrome pain is coming from that spot.
- Moving your hip away from your body while supporting your knee. You might feel pain and be unable to move your hip very far.
- Moving your knee at different angles to see if that causes pain.
If you have ITBS on both sides, the tests would be repeated on your other side. While these tests are helpful, in order to conclusively diagnose ITBS, your provider will likely order scans such as an ultrasound and possibly an MRI.
Q: Can you still run with IT band syndrome?
A: Running with IT band syndrome will only make the symptoms worse and mean a longer recovery. We would suggest taking a complete rest from running while you are undergoing treatment, and a gradual restart when you’re pain-free. Even then, you should avoid running uphill. You may have to put off running a marathon for a good long while.
Q: Does IT band syndrome ever go away?
A: With rest, proper treatment, changes in your body mechanics, and proper shoe gear, yes. This may take anywhere from two to eight weeks. Without treatment and without rest, it will stick around, likely with increased pain.
Q: How is iliotibial band syndrome treated?
A: With rest, and a variety of non-invasive techniques. ITBS rarely requires surgery. Keep reading to learn how we treat your IT band syndrome.
How Cima Health Can Help
Cima Health provides restorative, lifelong solutions that target the root cause of your pain. Your iliotibial band syndrome treatment will start out with a comprehensive evaluation to assess your pain. We will also ask questions about your training or running regimen, examine your gait, ask about your work and home life, lifestyle, and habits before making recommendations for an integrative plan of care. Together, we come up with non-invasive and alternative treatments that can help you achieve whole-body wellness and live pain-free for life.
Treating and preventing IT band pain involves several treatment modalities, all of which you can receive in one location. They include:
- Chiropractic Care
- Joint Injections
- Physical Therapy
- Massage Therapy
- Physical Fitness
Let’s take a look at how each of these areas works together to provide you with natural pain relief and inspires you to make lifestyle changes to prevent IT band pain in the future.
Chiropractic care may provide nearly immediate pain relief, depending on the severity of your IT band syndrome. Chiropractic adjustments, manual therapy, dry needling, and Class IV laser treatment can all help relieve your pain. We may also suggest custom Footmaxx orthotics if you have a leg length discrepancy, high arches, flat feet, or overpronation.
Our Palm Beach Gardens chiropractors are all highly trained professionals and include:
In addition to chiropractic care for pain relief, your team may determine you would benefit from joint injections. Our medical care team administers cortisone shots into the area of the IT band where it passes over the bony prominence on the outside of your knee, to provide pain relief and reduce inflammation. The doctor may also discuss giving you platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections for your IT band syndrome. This is another non-invasive treatment, and an alternative to surgery.
Physical Therapy (PT)
Physical therapy, when combined with other treatments can also help with IT band syndrome. We may use manual therapy, laser therapy, and other treatments to address your pain and help you heal. We will develop an exercise and stretching program to help you get pain relief, increase mobility, and gain flexibility. You will be able to do many of these exercises and IT band syndrome stretches at home as well as with your physical therapist at Cima Health.
Massage therapy is another modality we offer that can complement the other treatments. Targeted, therapeutic massage can reduce inflammation and pain. Massage therapy might include Swedish massage, deep tissue massage, and other treatments to relieve tightness in your leg muscles, improve circulation, and soothe soreness. And of course, massage relaxes you and promotes a sense of overall wellbeing.
Physical FitnessThe last component of preventing IT band syndrome is maintaining your fitness or becoming physically fit. Our physical fitness team of personal trainers can help develop an exercise plan that strengthens your hip, glutes, and abdominal muscles, to lessen the reoccurrence of ITBS. We will also focus on IT band syndrome prevention by showing you proper stretching and cool down techniques, how to run with a shorter stride, wearing proper shoe gear, and more. The entire team at Cima Health works together to provide you with coordinated care and restorative, lifelong solutions.
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Pain from IT band syndrome can make it impossible to go for your morning run, and difficult to be active with your kids. If you’re suffering from IT band pain, book an appointment today. One of our chiropractors will do a comprehensive examination to get to the root cause of your pain and develop an integrative plan of care to offer pain relief and inspire you to achieve whole-body wellness.