Understanding IT Band Problems
Ever been on a long run when you start feeling an uncomfortable tight pain on the outside of your knee?
When you stop to stretch out a bit, you begin to realize that it is a lot more painful now than it was just a
few minutes ago.
In fact, you begin to notice that the longer you are stationary, the more intense the pain gets when you
try to bend your knee. Pretty soon it is immobile from pain and you are worried that you are going to
need a knee replacement surgeon before the day is out.
The first thing you need to do is calm down because you are not likely going to need a knee replacement
surgeon to fix this problem. This is likely an issue with your Iliotibial band (or IT band for short).
The IT band is a band of tissue running from you’re the outside of your hip to the outside of your knee. It
works with your thigh to provide stability when bending.
Just like any other muscle in your body, when overworked in a way it is not used to, it is going to hurt, a
lot. Ironically, the injury doesn’t have to happen at the knee to feel it.
In fact, more often than not, the injury begins a lot higher
up on the band. It only manifests itself in the knee as that
is where the IT band works.
And since it is vital in the bending of the knee, every step
you take, your IT band will tell you about it. If you are
feeling those pains, then you have likely recently run
longer than you are used to, farther than you are used to
or harder than you are used to.
This especially creeps up when you are training for a race. Every run, you want to push yourself to be
faster or to go farther.
Sometimes it can be from running on an uneven surface for several miles. If you train on a flat ground
and then proceed to run on the side of a hill for a couple miles, you will be working your IT band in a way
that it has never been used before.
Even though your heart and lungs can handle the distance, your joints cannot. Even heel striking runners
can begin developing problems with this.
Dealing With Your Knee Problem
Do you still feel like you need a knee replacement surgeon? Be confident that you do not.
There are a few good things you can do to heal yourself during this time. Simply resting is not always
enough—as you haven’t worked the band out or changed
your stride in any way.
Instead, there are stretches you can do to try and prepare
it for running at full strength again. One of the most
effective things to do is roll the band out on a foam roller
three times a day.
This can be one of the most painful experiences of your
life, but once your exercises are done, you will strengthen
the band against further damage in the future. Put away that business card for you knee replacement
surgeon and get to work today.