What is ITBS?
There are a few runners reporting pains in their knees, outside thigh and hips. Unfortunately, some of these cases can be attributed to ITBS, Iliotibial Band Syndrome, or IT Band Syndrome. ITBS is a very common "running injury" especially in distance training, half marathon and above. Unfortunately, it is also sneaky, can be painful, and can be detrimental to your training, sometimes for a long time.
However, it does NOT have to put you out for the season with the right preparation, care and maintenance during your training.
Below are a handful of websites that I feel do a decent job in explaining everything from Symptoms to Reasons to Treatments to Recovery. There are hundreds of sites out there, these do a good job.
- http://www.time-to-run.com/injuries/thebig5/itb.htm - one of my favorites - simple and easy to read.
- http://www.sdri.net/running-injuries/iliotibial-band-syndrome/ - A good overview.
- http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/cybertherapist/front/knee/irunnersknee.html This one provides a good overview, but membership is required to get beyond the front.
- http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/archive/0168-knee-injuries.htm - A lengthy text only description.
- http://www.aafp.org/afp/20050415/1545.html - This one is more of a "laymen's" medical description, though pretty good.
Some of my own key points based on experience and a many years’ worth of seeing ITBS:
- If you feel PAIN in your outer lower knee, along with tightness in the outer/upper thigh/hip - STOP running. Follow the self-treatments as described in the articles below.
- If you feel tight in the upper/outer thigh/hip, pay attention, listen to your body and work on prevention (Stretching, professional massage, etc.)
- Self-treatment is okay, and required for early stages but only for a week or two - professional treatment should be sought if things continue past 2 weeks or gets worse within the first 2 weeks.
- You can combat ITBS before it becomes debilitating: by stretching, self-massage, professional massage
- Running conditions have an effect: Incorrect shoes, your Form & Posture, running on hard or angled surfaces, too much increase in running (too far to fast) and for some, one leg being longer than the other (severe cases can be accommodated)
- I know many who have lessened the effect of pending ITBS or have used post-injury by using the “IT Band Strap” as shown here: http://runjunk.com/pro-tec-it-band-compression-wrap/
If you find yourself with some ITBS, then your first line of defense is to self-treat with stretching, foam rolling, and if bad, icing/ibuprofen.
- A very in-depth article showing causes and treatment techniques: http://runnersconnect.net/running-injury-prevention/it-band-injury-runners-stretches-exercies-treatments/
- Here’s a great video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9aJtO0VCqw
- Old school, but good stuff and pictures. http://www.runnersworld.com/rt-may-2004/stretching-and-strengthening-exercises-for-iliotibial-band-syndrome
Foam Roller & IT Band Products
Offered by our friends over at RunJunk.com
BTW, the lateral femoral epicondyle is the outer (lateral) protrusion of bone at the end of your femur (Thigh Bone). It's what the IT Band actually "rubs" against causing the infamous "IT Band Syndrome."
See ya out there!