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What exactly is Iliotibial Band Syndrome in Joggers and Runners?

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is a common overuse injury among runners and joggers, characterized by pain on the outside of the knee caused by inflammation of the iliotibial band, which stabilizes the knee joint during activities like running and cycling. Overuse of your muscles and tendons can lead to a whole range of painful and debilitating conditions. While many such overuse injuries are temporary or can be resolved with at-home treatments, that does not make them any less uncomfortable, disruptive, and frustrating. Runners and joggers are particularly prone to overuse injuries in their feet, ankles, and legs. One such injury is called iliotibial band (IB) syndrome.

What is the Iliotibial Band and What Does It Do?

The iliotibial band is a thick connective tissue that runs from the pelvis to the tibia along the lateral or outside aspect of your thigh, crossing both the knee and hip joints. The IB helps stabilize the lateral part of the knee joint and provides range of motion as the knee flexes and extends.

How Does IB Syndrome Effect Runners?

Running, jogging (and cycling) involve constant flexing and extending of the knee, so it is no surprise that the tissue so critical to such motion is susceptible to an overuse injury.

When a runner develops IB syndrome, they may not know precisely what the problem is but they will definitely know that something is wrong. The most prominent symptom is pain on the outside of the affected knee caused by inflammation. Initially, a runner may feel a stinging or needle-like sensation that gradually becomes more and more painful with each step and each time the heel strikes the ground. Additionally, IB syndrome may cause a popping or snapping sound at the knee.

For runners, the pain caused by IB syndrome can be so debilitating that it keeps them from running for an extended time, something all runners dread.

Treating IB Syndrome in Runners

Once you feel IB band pain, the best way thing you can do is shut down your running and immediately get some rest. For most runners, rest along with side stretches, anti-inflammatory medication, and ice or heat can ease the pain and stop it from returning. Once the pain subsides, you can get some miles in by cross-training, swimming, rowing, or other activities that allow the knee to rest.

If your IT band pain is still bothering you after several weeks of rest and at-home treatment, you may need a cortisone injection to break up scar tissue and help speed healing. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to fully resolve the issue

Sports Injury? Schedule an Appointment at OrthoMiami Today.

As an all-inclusive orthopedic facility, OrthoMiami is truly a one-stop-shop for all orthopedic and sports medicine issues, including IB syndrome. Patients can get their essential imaging, required surgery, and critical follow-up care, including physical therapy, all in one convenient office. The OrthoMiami team always welcomes new patients and can generally schedule new patient appointments within a couple of days.

Please contact us today at (305) 596-2828 to schedule your appointment. We look forward to meeting you.

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