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Is Your Iliotibial Band Too Tight?

What Is IT Band Syndrome?

The iliotibial (IT) bands run from each hip all the way down to your shin bones. Many runners, hikers, and cyclists are well aware of these fibers and the whirlwind of pain that can stem from complications involving this integral part of the human body.

Painful problems associated with the IT band occur when the band crosses over your knee and causes friction. A fluid-filled sac called a bursa normally helps the IT band glide smoothly over your knee as you bend and straighten your leg. But if the band is too tight, bending your knee will create friction. This causes your band and bursa to swell, which leads to IT band syndrome.

This condition can stem from a number of factors. If you are an athlete, lift weights, or work out often, and you aren’t using the proper training techniques, you’ll be more inclined to suffer from IT band soreness. Failing to stretch, warm up, and cool down can lead to IT band tightness. Pushing yourself too hard during physical activity, not resting long enough between workouts, wearing worn-out sneakers, running downhill, or training on banked rather than flat surfaces can also be problematic.

If you notice aching, burning, or tenderness on the outside of your knee, you should have your doctor examine your IT band. To ease the pain and swelling, avoid activities that trigger the discomfort. Wrap an ice pack in a towel and put it on the outside of your knee for 10–15 minutes at a time. In addition to at-home care, physical therapy is also a great resource. Therapists can help you create an exercise routine that will help reduce your overall pain. If you have any further questions about IT band syndrome, feel free to give our office a call today.

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