Do I Have Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)?

I’m really getting tired of telling the story of my left knee. And, I’ve tried so many soultions now – including asking anyone for help.

Lately, more than one person has suggested that I might have Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). Here’s some more on what that is:

The key aspect of ITBS is lateral knee pain. Runners often note that they start out running pain free but develop symptoms after a reproducible time or distance. Early on, symptoms subside shortly after a run, but return with the next run. If ITBS progresses, pain can persist even during walking, particularly when the patient walks up and down stairs.

This is exactly what’s been happening with me.  And, maybe this is the story behind that bout with a quad strain that I had after hurting my knee?  Further, it’s made me think about my usual running route.  The knee pain for me starts about two miles into it – where the route starts to incline.  And, I’ve always thought it was the incline that was the problem.  But, just before that part is where I am forced off the sidewalk and have to run in the street.  Perhaps it’s the crowning of the street that’s making my “IT” hurt.  I’m running into traffic at that point, and it’s my left leg that is on the outside part of the road, and it’s only my left knee that hurts when running.  Is this all connected?

Here’s more on the condition and a remedy via -

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Pain on the outside of your knee (not usually accompanied by swelling or locking). The pain may be sporadic and disappear with rest, only to reoccur suddenly, often at the same point in a run. Depending on the individual, this could happen at four miles, two miles or just 200 yards. The pain often goes away almost immediately after you stop running.

Likely causes:
This is an overuse injury. The iliotibial band is a band of tissue that begins at the outside of the pelvis and extends to the outside part of the knee. The band helps stabilize the knee. If it becomes too short, the band rubs too tightly on the bone of your leg and becomes irritated. The tightness is usually the result of too much strain from overtraining.

Patience. This one takes a while. Give yourself plenty of rest, reduce your miles and ice frequently. You can keep running, but cut your run short as soon as you begin to feel any pain. Cut way back on hill work, and be sure to run on even surfaces. Look into some deep friction massage with a physical therapist.

Try some leg-raise exercises to strengthen your hips and be conscientious about the iliotibial band stretch. You might supplement that stretch with this one, doing it gently but often:

To stretch the IT band of your right leg, stand with your left side facing the wall. Cross your right leg behind your left, while putting your left hand against the wall. Put your weight on the right leg and lean against the wall by pushing your right hip away from the wall. Be sure that your right foot is parallel to the wall during the stretch. You should be able to feel the stretch in your hip and down the IT band (in this case, along the right side of your right leg). Hold for five seconds and do this ten times. For the left leg, do as above, but stand with your right side facing the wall, and put your left leg behind your right.

Many other suggest using a foam roller to help prevent pain from ITBS:

I’m now strongly considering trying a different, flat, route for a test run – and doing some of the “IT” stretching exercises before and after the run – to see if that makes a difference.

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