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IT Band Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is a prevalent condition that causes pain on the outer part of the knee or hip. The IT band is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the lateral thigh from the hip to just below the knee. This tissue, and surrounding tissues, can become inflamed leading to a sharp or burning sensation that often intensifies with physical activities involving repetitive bending of the knee. 

typical causes:

Commonly found in runners and cyclists, ITBS often stems from various causes. Individuals who participate in prolonged, repetitive activities such as running or biking tend to be at a higher risk. It is thought that repetitive movements lead to the compression of the IT band on surrounding tissues; specifically the bursa and fat pad, which causes pain. Muscle weakness, specifically in the hip, is highly associated with ITBS. Weakness in the hips can lead to biomechanical changes with tasks such as running, which places greater stress on the ITB. Restrictions in hip mobility can also lead to biomechanical changes that increase ITB strain. Training plan errors are often associated with ITBS as well. This includes rapidly increasing mileage, rapidly increasing pace, or lacking variability with a training plan.

how physical therapy can help:

Physical therapy plays a pivotal role in managing ITBS. A skilled physical therapist can design a personalized rehabilitation plan to address impairments that are likely leading to the onset of symptoms. A physical therapist will guide patients through specific stretches and strengthening exercises to alleviate stress on the IT band. Manual therapy techniques may also be employed to desensitize the IT band and surrounding tissues. Runners may benefit from a running assessment to identify potential faults and develop a retraining program to improve mechanics. This comprehensive approach not only helps in symptom alleviation but also prevents future recurrence of the syndrome.

Ready to get moving? Contact us today to schedule an assessment.

exercises that may help reduce pain:

If you experience more pain with these exercises, hold off from that particular movement.

Couch Stretch – The Couch Stretch is an effective exercise for alleviating patellofemoral pain syndrome. This stretch targets tight quadriceps and hip flexors, which can contribute to patellofemoral pain syndrome. It is recommended to perform this stretch for 2 minutes on each side, repeating 1-2 times a day, to maximize flexibility and reduce stress on the patella.

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Supine Bridge – The Supine Bridge, particularly with an eccentric focus, is an effective exercise for strengthening the glutes and hamstrings. Lie flat on your back with feet flat on the floor. Pushing through your heels, lift your hips off the ground to form a bridge. Perform 3 sets of 10-15 repetitions, emphasizing a slow, controlled lowering phase from the bridge position. You can progress this exercise by performing with your feet on an elevated surface as shown below in the third photo. 

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The Standing Glute Med Isometric – The Standing Glute Med Isometric is a therapeutic exercise targeting the gluteus medius muscle. While standing next to a wall, lift your leg up to about 90 degrees. From here, push your leg into the wall and hold for 5-10 seconds. Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions to strengthen the hip.

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your knee pain may not be caused by your knee!

i’move takes a medically informed approach to reduce knee pain and improve mobility with consistent, life-changing success. Our full-body analytics treat the whole source of your knee pain, not just the symptoms. Then, we build a custom knee-pain treatment program with the same therapist to help you through your entire healing journey. Check out three-part knee pain video series below to learn how stretching other parts of your body may help reduce your knee pain!

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