ITBS is a condition that most commonly occurs in runners. The IT-Band is actually a thick band of tissue that is called fascia. Several muscles in the hip and thigh region attach to this thick band and can increase the stress and strain on the tissue. The ITB attaches to the patella (knee cap) and the lower leg, right below the outside of the knee.
So what causes ITBS?
• Most commonly, it is due to a weakness in the hip abductors (gluteus maximus and medius). It may also be caused by other biomechanical influences such as over-pronation of the foot, and excessive force that occurs as the foot strikes the pavement.
What are the symptoms of ITBS?
• The symptoms of ITBS differ. There may be a sharp or burning pain anywhere along the ITB, or most commonly, the lateral/outside surface of the knee that goes away with rest. If left un-addressed, the pain may be present more frequently with walking, and eventually there is tenderness along the entire ITB.
How can it be treated?
• Initially, ice and stretching may relieve most symptoms. Using a foam roller may also be beneficial in relieving trigger points and areas of tightness within the ITB. To insure that the condition does not progress, or get worse, the cause should be addressed. This means strengthening exercises for the hip abductors!
Many doctors only treat the symptoms, or the ITB itself. If the Glutes are not strengthened the condition will eventually get worse. I suggest asking a professional, trained in rehabilitation, such as a chiropractor or physical therapist for help with this condition. You will definitely find relief faster!
Below are pictures of common exercises that would be recommended.
Above shows a ‘clam’ exercise: Start by laying on your side with legs bent at a 90 degree angle. Bring the ankles, knees, and hips together. Using a resistance band, bring the knees apart while keeping the heels together. Do this 10-15 times and repeat on the other side. (Be sure not to roll your torso forwards or backwards while opening the knees).
The exercise (shown above) works by standing on an uneven surface and drawing the hip up, bringing the lower foot off the floor.
This exercise can be modified, to be done on even ground utilizing an exercise ball against the wall. Stand sideways with the side of your hip against the ball. Bend the knee (the one against the ball) to bring your foot off the ground. Raise and lower your opposite hip to move the ball up and down the wall. (If you have a lack of coordination or a loss of balance, do not perform the standing exercise.)
*Ask your rehab professional for assistance first, to insure you are doing the exercise correctly, before doing these on your own.