WHAT IS AN IT BAND?
The iliotibial band (IT Band) is a thick band of fibers that begins at the iliac crest (the border of the most prominent bone of the pelvis) in the pelvis and runs on the lateral or outside part of the thigh until it attaches into the tibia (shinbone). The gluteal or buttock muscle fibers and the tensor fasciae latae (muscles of the hip joint) attach to it, and the band acts to coordinate muscle function and stabilize the knee during running.
HOW DID I GET IT BAND SYNDROME?
Iliotibial band syndrome describes the pain caused by inflammation of the band as it crosses the lateral condyle of the femur. When the leg is in a straight (known as extended) position, the band fibers are anterior to, or in front of, the condyle (a bony projection on the outer surface of the femur, or thigh bone). As the knee flexes, the fibers move across the lateral condyle and are positioned behind or posterior to it. A Bursa or sac in this area allows the iliotibial band to glide over the end of the femur.
When the band becomes irritated, friction may occur with walking or running, causing knee pain due to inflammation on the lateral part of the knee joint. If symptoms are ignored, further inflammation and scarring may occur in the bursa, causing progressive pain with decreased activity.
Since the IT band is a tendon with large muscle attachments, many of our soft tissue tools (i.e. Graston technique, rapid release, and ultrasound) will help resolve the ailment. Foam rolling and using a running stick are great lost cost ways to prevent the formation of trigger points in the IT band. If you’re a runner and your suffering from IT band syndrome, try experimenting with different running shoes and/or switching to a more midfoot or toe first strike pattern. Heel striking will always be 100% the wrong way to land on an outstretched foot. The natural way to land is with your forefoot and spring off using the Achilles tendon. For more information, try looking up the Pose Method.