Iliotibial Band (ITB) Friction Syndrome
The iliotibial band runs along the outside of the thigh. ITB friction syndrome is a pain on the outside of the knee due to the iliotibial band rubbing back and forth over the prominence of the femur. This creates localized swelling and tissue thickening.
It can be due to several factors including abnormal foot biomechanics, footwear, a change in activity, training errors, workout surfaces, a muscle imbalance and biomechanical problems in the low back, pelvis, hip and knee.
Treatment consists of the following:
- Modifying training program during the acute stage
- Appropriate shoe selection, possible orthotics (shoe inserts)
- Running on the other side of the road or on the other side of the track
- Physiotherapy to correct muscle imbalance or any biomechanical problems in the low back, hip, knee or feet.
Illitobial Band Stretch
Stand with your back straight and your left leg crossed in front of the other for balance. Keep your back straight and right leg straight as you push the right hip toward the right. This stretch should be felt on the outer part of the hip. Repeat for left leg. NOTE: Do not bend your spine to the side while doing the stretch. It will put undue stress on your spine.
Stand with your back straight and balancing on the right leg (using the wall for support). Using your left hand, pull your knee back at your ankle joint. The stretch should be felt at the front of your left thigh. Repeat for right leg. NOTE: Do not arch your back with this stretch.
Piriformis (Buttock) Stretch
Long sitting with the right leg crossed over the left leg. Place your hands on the outside of the right knee and keep your back straight. The hands on the bent right knee should pull toward your body and feel the stretch at your hip and hold. This stretch should be felt on the outside part of the right hip and in the buttock area. Repeat for left leg.
Hold stretches for 15 to 20 seconds and repeat three to five times on each side before and after workouts, and more frequently if ITB syndrome is present.