What is ITB and what are the symptoms?

But one of the most common running injuries – and easiest to treat with Physical Therapy – is Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome. When the iliotibial band, which is the long tendon of the tensor fascia latae muscles, rubs against the outside of the knee joint, it can cause friction, pain, and inflammation. This ligament runs along the outside of the thigh from the shin up to the hip, which is sometimes where the pain is felt. 

It is usually described as feeling tight, inflamed, stiff, or achy. Repetitive activity makes it worse, which is why it primarily affects runners, though cyclists often suffer from it.

"Our understanding of the causes of hip pain, as well as many other running injuries, has helped us become the go-to Physical Therapy provider in the running community." -Craig O'Neil, Results VP of Learning and Affiliation

What causes ITB Syndrome?

There are several things runners do that can irritate and place stress on the iliotibial tendon: increasing mileage too soon, running in the same direction around a track or loop, poor biomechanics or over pronation, running on an uneven surface, running with tight hamstrings, or wearing old shoes that don’t provide necessary support. 

Studies have also shown that a weak hip abductor, or lateral gluteal muscle, can be a factor. When the hip abductor is weak, the ITB will compensate in an effort to create stability around the hip and pelvis. This creates stress on the ITB, which can become painful. 

How is ITB Syndrome treated?

The first step is to identify which factors are causing the pain. They can then be addressed through corrective exercises, strengthening and re-educating the gluteal muscles, and improving flexibility of the hip flexors and hamstrings. If necessary, changes can be made to footwear or orthotics can be introduced to stabilize the foot and allow greater shock absorption while running. 

"I thought I was going to have to either lay off for three months or give up running altogether. But after working with Results, I’m back on the roads seven mornings a week."

How does Results treat ITB Syndrome?

Hands-on, manual Physical Therapy produces the optimal outcomes for ITB Syndrome. Specific deep tissue mobilization of the ITB and hip muscles can relieve stress. When these tissues are relaxed and loosened, myofascial release techniques can be introduced that provide greater relief.

Every Results Physical Therapist has received specific training in how to treat ITB Syndrome. Our understanding of and experience with running injuries has made us a favorite in the running world.

If you are experiencing hip pain and haven’t been treated successfully, or are only finding temporary relief, contact a Results clinic and schedule an appointment for an evaluation. Don’t wait until the condition becomes chronic and threatens your training program. Most insurance companies no longer require a physician’s referral for Physical Therapy. 

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