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How to fix IT Band Syndrome

If you’re an active individual, you may have experienced discomfort or irritation at your IT band a.k.a. the iliotibial band.

IT band syndrome is pain along the outside of the knee that is typically felt while the knee is slightly bent during movement, and can become so bothersome that it sidelines you from activity. It is the second most common cause of knee pain.

Who Is At Risk of IT Band Syndrome?
IT band syndrome typically affects people that run, cycle, hike and participate in sports that require significant power and strength from the legs. Those that experience IT band pain often present with some form of dysfunction with one of the muscles that attach to the IT band – that is, the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus, tensor fasciae latae, or vastus lateralis. Dysfunction in these muscles can include muscle tightness, weakness, and overuse.

IT Band

What Are the Symptoms of IT Band Pain?
IT band syndrome is felt along the outside of the knee joint. This pain tends to worsen with activity, and ease with rest. IT band pain is sometimes known as “IT band friction” in that clicking may be heard when the knee is moving from a bent to straightening position (flexion into extension). The most intense pain is often present when the knee is bent at 30 degrees (a position typically seen in running). Other symptoms can include: clicking on the outside of the knee; warmth and tenderness to the touch along the outside knee; tension and pain along the hip and thigh.

You may notice more prominent IT band syndrome symptoms if you’ve:

  • Increased training volume
  • Changed surfaces while training e.g. trail running vs. road running
  • Present with muscle strength and length differences at the hip and outer thigh.

    IT Band Syndrome

    What Can Be Done to Address IT Band Pain?
    Immediate resting, icing, and stretches are typically prescribed when treating acute IT band syndrome. This may be followed by gradual changes to volumes in training, and specific treatment catered to your needs.

    Your licensed therapist at Myodetox can provide a thorough assessment to determine what structures and movements may be contributing to your IT band pain. Discomfort and tension along the IT band is often the result of dysfunction of the muscles that attach to it along the hip. In fact, some evidence suggests that IT band pain may be muscle weakness at the hips(1). Your licensed therapist can also help with differential diagnosis of your pain, carefully reviewing other structures that may or may not be contributing to your pain.

    Interventions that can help IT band syndrome include:

  • Hands-on therapy e.g. myofascial release along the hips and thigh.
  • Exercise e.g. corrective movements for muscle lengthening, strengthening, and movement coordination.
  • Education & Self-management e.g. load changes, foam rolling, ice vs. heat.

    Two Home Exercise Tips:

  • Foam roll: the video below focuses on foam rolling the entirety of the leg, and not just the area that hurts. Remember, the IT band connects multiple muscles!
    Click here to watch the video

  • Leg strengthening: the following exercise incorporates the entirety of your leg. You want a strategy that can focus on getting your hips and thigh involved so that you move pain free!
    Click here to watch the video

    Ready to take the next step?
    Your licensed therapist at Myodetox can provide a thorough assessment to determine what structures and movements associated with the IT band may be contributing to the symptoms. They can help you figure out which movements, muscles, joints, or even nerves may be contributing to the IT pain. And most importantly, they’ll devise a plan with you to treat and manage your pain so you can get back to doing what you love.

    Find your nearest clinic!

  • 6 min read

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    Don’t Let An ACL Injury Be Your Downfall

    It’s every athlete’s worst nightmare. They go up for a shot, get tackled hard or twist incorrectly, and they end up with a dreaded ACL injury. We discuss how you can strengthen that ACL injury and be ready for the rest of your days!

    The ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) is a ligament in the knee that works to provide passive stability to the knee joint. It also prevents the tibia from slipping forward, away from the femur. It is one of the most commonly injured ligaments in the knee and when injured, the symptoms can range from pain and swelling, to decreased range of motion and loss of stability.

    Injuries to the ACL are rated on a three point scale depending on their severity and the degree of damage to the ligament.

    Grade 1 – Refers to mild damage of the ligament (less than 25% damaged) when stability will not be affected.
    Grade 2 – Refers to moderate damage of the ligament (with up to 50% damaged) leading to some instability in the knee.
    Grade 3 – Refers to a full rupture of the ligament where the knee will experience the greatest amount of instability.

    Sprained ACL recovery time will be dependent on the grade of sprain or tear you have sustained to the ligament and your post-rehab goals. However, typical return to sport following surgical reconstruction ranges from 9-12 months.

    Regardless of whether or not you will be having surgery to repair the ligament, early post injury guidelines will be the same.

    As goes for many injuries, the number one goal for early rehab is regaining full range of motion in the joint. This generally means that the swelling has been flushed out and the area is primed for progressive strengthening. For an ACL tear it’s really no different, therefore, the first exercises are going to be geared towards flushing out the swelling and getting that knee moving.

    Heel Slides
    Heel slides are performed primarily to progressively increase the range of motion at the knee (into flexion and extension). This can be done actively, where you are using your muscles to bend and straighten your leg, or passively, where you are using a strap or sheet to get the job done. These methods can also be used together in order to gain the strengthening benefits of active work and the passive benefits of overpressure. Remember, stay within your limits of pain, you aren’t getting any extra points for reaming on your leg!

    Ankle Pumps
    Ankle Pumps can be used in the early stages as well to help limit the amount of swelling built up throughout the day. Blood and swelling follow the path of gravity, so if you are sitting a lot after an injury you may notice pooling in the leg after a couple hours. Pumping your ankles up and down will help to keep things moving, improving post-injury fluid flow.

    Initially, weight bearing on the injured leg is likely going to be painful and difficult and you may be using crutches to help you walk. In order to help limit the amount of strength lost in the leg during this time, it is recommended that you complete some isometric activities to help keep those muscles engaging. Quadricep, hamstring and glute sets can be beneficial in the early stages following injury to keep the neural pathways to these muscles firing. Simply engage the muscles in a static position (for example dig your heel into the bed for the hamstring), hold for 5 seconds and repeat.

    Once the range of motion has been restored, the symptoms have decreased and you are able to weight bear through the leg, you can begin to incorporate more complex exercises for the hip and the knee such as:



    Mini squats

    Step ups

    All exercises should be completed with caution and only when you have the appropriate muscle strength and coordination to progress. Muscle soreness is common and normal following exercise, however sharp or shooting pains are your body’s signals that something may be wrong. When in doubt, always consult a medical professional for help.