Understanding ITB Sydrome




Hi everyone- its Flying Physios time again. The last fortnight has seen a few folks through our doors with a very common running condition know as ITB syndrome. But what does it mean to have a syndrome such as this? For starters it sounds a lot worse than it is, so If you do suffer from this condition don’t panic- with sensible application and listening to your body and your therapist you should be fine. Not sure if you have the condition? Read on and you soon will. To discuss anything in this article further please feel free to call the clinic on 01727 758846.


ITB syndrome- have I got it? What does it mean? How do I treat it?


Have I got an ITB?

For starters everyone has an ITB- Iliotibial band- a ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip all the way to the shin, stopping off along the way to attach to the outside of the knee. As a part of our body mechanics it helps to stabilise the knee and plays a part in the knee joints movement.


But do I have ITB syndrome?

When the ITB isn’t working properly, knee bending and all activities associated with knee bending-including running- become very painful.


What are the symptoms of ITB syndrome?

The most notable symptom is swelling and pain on the outside of the knee- a little more to the outside of the knee than on the knee itself- ruling out the fact that may be a knee injury as sufferers often think initially. The best way to determine if it is ITB syndrome is to bend your knee to 45 degrees or bend quite a lot in simple terms. If you feel pain on the outside of the knee then there is a very good chance that you have ITB syndrome.


How can I be sure this what I am feeling?

Make an appointment with a qualified therapist to diagnose the condition and treat effectively. The team at The Flying Physios www.theflyingphysios.com can help with this.


Will I be OK?

Its important to know that everyone is prone to this condition arising at some time/any time- in fact its more common than you think. It can be classed as an overuse injury or condition- we don’t like to use the term injury always as it can make the condition sound more complicated than it potentially is. With the right help it can remedied relatively quickly- a majority of the time.


What causes ITB syndrome?

It can result from any activity that causes the leg to turn inwards repeatedly- remember it is a condition that occurs due to overuse. Examples include

  • warn out shoes
  • running down hill or on banked, uneven surfaces
  • running too many track circuits in the same direction
  • running too many miles too soon or too often
  • or weak hip muscles, very common in the case of unseasoned athletes, as weak hip muscles can cause legs to turn in


The pain you feel is due to friction on the ITB. As it approaches the knee it narrows and it is at this point where band meets bone that problems occur. Rubbing causes inflammation, inflammation causes pain and so on.


How do I treat my ITB syndrome?

The moment you notice ITB pain the best way to get rid of it full stop is to rest immediately. This means LESS miles or NO RUNNING AT ALL. The days of running through the pain are gone for a good reason. Resting immediately will result in  preventing the pain from returning. If you don’t rest the condition will continue and will become a chronic condition- not something you want!


Our top tips to help limit your symptoms include:

  • Backing off on your mileage and supplementing your lack of running with some cross-training  such as Swimming, pool running, cycling, and rowing are all fine. Stair-climbing is not, because it is too much like running.
  • Side stretches will also help- source out a good set of ITB stretches. Also consider ice or heat on the area and seek out ultrasound as a way of speeding up the     healing process.
  • If your ITB problem doesn’t get better after several weeks, seek help from a qualified individual. Therapy will often help the problem resolve more rapidly.


How can I prevent ITB syndrome from returning?

  • Ease off on the mileage or take a few days off if you feel the pain on the side of your knee returning.
  • Walk for a while before you start your run, try walking a quarter to half a mile, its a nice way to warm up the area.
  • Check your shoes! If you find wear along the outside of the sole then you really need to replace them.
  • Believe it or not running down the middle of the road where its flat can save your ITB- but of course watch out for traffic.
  • Don’t run on very hard surfaces.
  • If you are track running then remember to change direction regularly.
  • Research the possible need for orthotics

The Flying Physios are offering all subscribers and competitors to Hercules Events a 30 minutes treatment at our London Colney clinic for just £20.00. The 30 minutes will consist of sports & remedial massage therapy designed to help rid you of your ITB syndrome. To book call the clinic on 01727 758846 or email info@theflyingphysios.com

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