The IT band, Iliotibial Band, is a ligament in your leg that runs from the hip joint, down the outside of the thigh to the shin. The IT band helps to stabilize and move the knee joint as well as help extend, abduct, and laterally rotate your leg at the hip.
If you are a runner, you have probably heard of an IT band, as many often injure it.
Why is it that runners often injure this area?
This injury is common among runners due to overuse of the knee. Repeatedly turning the leg inward from wearing worn out shoes, running down hill, running on a banked surface or just plain running too many miles will cause this to happen. When the IT band becomes tight, it starts to rub painfully over the bone on the side on the knee and the area becomes inflamed. When you have IT syndrome, you will feel pain on the outside of your knee that worsens with activity.
How do you treat IT syndrome?
Here are a few options you can try!
– The best thing you can do it rest immediately when you start to feel pain. If you don’t give yourself a break, the syndrome may become chronic. You do not have to stop working out completely. Cross train by swimming, cycling, pool running, or rowing.
– Decrease your miles
– Make sure to warm up your legs properly before starting a run. Walk a quarter of a mile before you start running.
– Make sure to replace your shoes when they start to wear along the outside.
– Run on a flat surface, like the middle of a road, where it is flatter. Find an area where there is little to no traffic and good visibility.
– Avoid concrete surfaces that are often uneven
– If you run on a track, change directions often
-Stretch the area
-Ice the area
If none of these help, see a doctor.
There are some things you can do to strengthen the outer leg to help avoid getting IT syndrome. Working the muscles around your hip will help stabilize the joint that keeps your hips level while running. These following moves will accomplish this.
Find a 2 inch platform. Stand on top of the platform. Step one foot down, tapping on the ground gently, and then bring it back to standing. Take your time. You should take 2 seconds to lower and 2 sec to raise. Do 15 reps on each side
Single Leg Balances
Stand on one foot with the other foot extending our in front of you, foot flexed. Keep your hips in alignment as you hold yourself steady for 90 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
Lay on your side with your knees bent together, your feet in line with your spine. Keeping your feet together, lift your top knee up and toward the ceiling. Keep your back still as you do this move and do not rotate backwards to allow for more range on motion. It may only be a small movement, but you are targeting the right muscles! Do 2 sets of 10 on each side and gradually increase to 15-20 reps.
With a resistance band wrapped around your ankles, extend one leg out to your side. Keep your knees straight as you do this move. Do 2 sets of 10 on each side, gradually increasing to 3 sets of 15-20.
It is also important to stretch after a run or after you work to strengthen the area.
Place the leg that you want stretched behind your other one. Keeping both feet on the floor, bend towards the opposite side until you feel a stretch in your outer hip. (If you want your right leg stretched, bend towards the left) Hold for 30 sec. Repeat as often as you feel necessary and do this every day.
You could also fold forward for a deeper stretch. Hold for 30 sec. Repeat as often as you feel necessary and do this every day.
The pigeon position is also a great way to stretch your hip muscles. Depending on how flexible you are, you can hold your torso up or flatten to the ground. Hold for 30 sec. Repeat as often as you feel necessary and do this every day.
You could also try this move! Hold for 30 sec. Repeat as often as you feel necessary and do this every day.
Check out our other blog posts, like 5 night running safety tips!
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