The iliotibial band, or IT band, is the fibrous tissue that runs from the top of your hip to your shin’s outer side, right below your knee joint. Its primary function is to stabilize your thigh muscles, so there is less strain on your knee. When it becomes tight or inflamed, it results in IT band syndrome. Here is an overview of this condition and what IT band treatment entails in Las Vegas, NV.
What is IT band syndrome?
IT band syndrome occurs when your IT band is too tight. The condition is also known as hip bursitis or greater trochanteric bursitis.
When it functions properly, the IT band glides over the thigh bone and stabilizes your knee. When it is tight, it fails to glide easily and becomes inflamed. Eventually, it produces sharp knee and hip pain.
IT band syndrome is most common when runners increase their mileage, but it can occur for anyone who suddenly increases their activity levels without working up to it. You may also face IT band syndrome if you face mechanical gait problems, including over-pronation, uneven leg length or bow legs.
Hip weakness also contributes to IT band syndrome. Squatting, climbing, using stairs or getting out of a chair using poor form stresses the IT band. If you are not a runner, you may have other mobility issues, and chances are, they originate in your hips. Since it is not a muscle but connective tissue, it does not lengthen, stretch or shorten like a muscle. That is why it tightens and inflames, rather than adapts to the demands.
Symptoms and treatment
The first sign of IT band syndrome is pain and aching on the knee’s outer side after a run. When it becomes more intense, you may start feeling it in the middle of a run or favorite activity.
Treatment focuses on strengthening the knee, gluteus and hip muscles. Often, weakness in these areas forces the IT band to work harder than usual, which eventually leads to its inflammation. Your doctor or physical therapist also assesses other factors like diminished balance, strength and flexibility so they can design a holistic treatment program for you. Exercises may include single-leg balancing and foam rolls. Sometimes, changing to new or orthotic footwear helps.
You can prevent IT band syndrome with regular exercising, including warming up and stretching. Do not jump straight into exercise—instead, transition into new mileage or programs slowly. Even if you have grand athletic ambitions, avoid over-exercising, and if you feel pain, stop—do not “push through” it.
If your IT band acts up, ice it to reduce pain and give your body a break. Switch to lower-impact activities for a while. If the pain remains, see your doctor.
The office of Bernard Ong, M.D. offers orthopedic treatments and surgery in Las Vegas, NV. If you face the IT band syndrome symptoms, our IT band treatment programs may work for you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and reduce your IT band pain.
Categorized in: Joint Pain
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