Iliotibial Band Syndrome, or ITBS for short, this is an inflammation of the iliotibial band, which is a thick tendon that runs from the pelvic bone all the way down to the knee. ITBS occurs when the IT band thickens and rubs the knee bone, resulting in inflammation and pain. According to survey, the iliotibial band syndrome makes up roughly 12 percent of all running injuries, making it the fourth most common ailment in the running world.
ITBS manifests as intense pain around the outside of the knee and/or the hip that’s felt all the way down the leg—especially when running downhill or while using the stairs.
For the most part, runners with leg-length discrepancies, or those who overpronate or suffer from weak gluteal and hip abductor muscles are at a higher risk of the injury. Moreover, runners with a BMI of 24 or higher who do a weekly run of two hours of more are more likely to develop the condition.
At the first sign of trouble, take a couple of days of rest and reduce your mileage by 50 percent for a couple of weeks, and you could prevent serious injury. You will only exacerbate the injury if you keep on ignoring the first warning signs of the condition and keep on running at your typical mileage and intensity.
To treat ITBS, opt for the RICE method as long as there is pain. You may also choose to take NSAIDs and other off-the-counter anti-inflammation drugs to ease pain and speed up recovery. During the recovery period, you can choose to cross train by opting for low-impact activities, like swimming, biking, pool running, and yoga to help you keep your fitness base.
Strengthen your hip abductors with exercises such hip raises, side leg lifts, bridges, lunges wall sits, aiming to strengthen the muscles around the IT band. As a result, make sure to add plenty of these exercises into your gym workouts. Use a foam roller to loosen the band and roll out the sides of your hips, which can help break up the tissue knots in the area, reducing inflammation and pain.