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Managing IT Band Pain with Osteopathy

IT Band Pain

IT Band Pain, or IT Band Syndrome or Illiotibial Band Pain to name a few variations of this diagnosis, is a common condition of discomfort on the lateral knee or outside of the thigh pain. It is a very common sports injury seen in runners. The Iliotibial band is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh, from the hip to just below the knee. It plays a crucial role in stabilising the knee during activities like walking, running, and cycling.

When the IT band becomes tight or inflamed, it can rub against the lateral knee, causing pain and discomfort. This is often felt during activities that involve bending and straightening the knee, such as running, especially downhill, or going up and down stairs.

The images shows the anatomy of the hip, knee and IT band.
IT Band anatomy

Common symptoms of IT band pain may include:

  • Sharp or burning pain on the outer side of the knee: Often felt with physical activity, especially when the knee is bent and straightened.

  • Tenderness: In some cases, there may be extreme tenderness over the outer part of the knee or lateral thigh

  • Snapping or popping sensation: Some individuals may experience a snapping or popping sensation as the IT band moves over the knee joint.

  • Stiffness or tightness in the hip or thigh: Tightness in the IT band and associated muscles may contribute to discomfort.

Top tips for IT Band pain relief

  1. Reduce the amount of training you do. One of the main reasons IT band pain is a common sports injury and usually occurs due to overuse. Reducing activities like running long distances, especially on uneven surfaces, can contribute to IT band pain.

  2. Address muscle imbalances: Weakness or imbalances in the muscles surrounding the hip and thigh can lead to increased stress on the IT band.

  3. Not running in old trainers: Wearing old trainers that lack support for your feet may contribute to IT band issues. Find a pair of trainers that supports your ankles and feels comfortable.

  4. Rest & Recovery: Make sure you are recovered from your training. Think about stretching or foam rolling the muscles around the hip and lower leg. Good hydration, nutrition and sleep will all help to reduce the likelihood of any sport related injury.

  5. Don’t foam roll the IT Band: The IT band is made up of thick connective tissue, so rolling up and down on it will be ineffective and extremely painful. If you do want to foam roll work on different muscles around the hip and thigh. Such as the hip flexors, hamstrings, gluteal and calf muscles.

Managing IT Band pain with Osteopathy

Osteopaths are trained to perform a thorough musculoskeletal assessment of your body to identify the root cause of your knee pain. This may involve a combination of physical examination of the hip, knee, foot and the lower back to help with diagnosis.

At Health Point Practice we use various manual techniques to treat the affected area. This may include manual techniques such as soft tissue manipulation, stretching, massage, and joint mobilisation. Joint mobilisation techniques involves using precise movements to help restore a normal range of motion. These techniques aim to improve mobility, reduce muscle tension, and alleviate pain.

Providing the correct rehabilitation exercises to to help strengthen the muscles around the knees and improve flexibility is very important. At Health Point Practice we can give you the correct exercises to help reduce strain on the joints and help with strengthening exercises to build strength in surrounding muscles.

Osteopaths may offer advice on lifestyle modifications, such as proper ergonomics at work, stretching exercises to prevent further strain on the knees.



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