Conditions We Treat

IT Band Pain Treatment aka Iliotibial Band Pain

What is my IT Band (Iliotibial band) and why is is giving me so much knee pain?

Do you feel pain on the outside of your knee when you descend stairs or run downhill? You may have Iliotibial Band syndrome. Iliotibial band syndrome treatment rquires the right diagnosis. Also known as ITB syndrome, or IT Band syndrome, this is a frustratingly painful overuse condition which sidelines many runners and cyclists. The IT band is a structure that basically connects your hip to your knee and lower leg. It’s not a muscle, it’s not a tendon, but it’s a piece of connective tissue (fascia) that functions more like duct tape than like a rubber band. Muscles have elastic properties, meaning that they can lengthen, and then become restored to their original length. Connective tissue has less of these elastic properties, and can only lengthen a small amount before recoiling. The IT band also does not benefit from the same amount of circulation as a muscle, leaving it prone to injury, and difficult to repair.

Luckily, if we understand the anatomy of the area, and the physiology and histology of the tissues, we can formulate an effective treatment plan. Let’s first look at the anatomy of the ITB in relation to the hip, knee, and lower leg.

IT Band syndrome treatment anatomy
Anatomy of ITB and gluteal musculature courtesy Wiki Commons.

The IT band originates from a muscle called the tensor fasciae latae, and has two attachments, both to Gerdy’s tubercle on the tibia (shin bone) and to the head of the fibula (lateral shin bone).  It’s function is to extend, abduct, and laterally rotate the thigh.  It also is active in stabilizing the knee during flexion and extension, so it easily follows that if running and cycling involved repeated motions of flexion and extension, the IT band could become irritated, inflamed, or injured.

Symptoms of Iliotibial band syndrome:

-Knee pain when descending stairs
-Downhill running is painful
-Snapping sensation along knee or hip
-Tightness along the outside of thigh
-Pain that improves with rest
-Knee pain that develops after several miles of running

Causes of IT band syndrome:

-Poor biomechanics
-Weak hip or glute muscles
-Adhesions in hip or glute muscles
-Weak VMO muscle
-Too much/too soon
-Running on a banked surface
-Poor running form or improper shoe selection
-Uneven pelvis or short leg

Treatment of Iliotibial band syndrome:

Rehabilitate weak hip, quad, and glute muscles
-Cross train while slowly increase mileage
-Correct running form through coaching or video analysis
-Check pelvis for misalignment or fixation, adjustments as needed
-Reduce adhesion in involved muscles using Active Release Techniques

If you’re tired of suffering with knee pain caused by a tight IT Band and want to schedule a consultation with an Oakland chiropractor, please call (510) 465-2342 or click the button below.

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