Iliotibal Band Syndrome is a common condition that affects runners, though anyone who performs repetitive activities that affect the knees can experience this condition. Your iliotibial band is a piece of tissue that runs laterally from the pelvis down the hip and over the knee, providing structure for the knee and keeping it stable during activities like running.
If this band is constantly flexed and extended, it can become inflamed and uncomfortable. This may impact your ability to perform any activities that require you to bend your knee.
There are multiple treatment options for iliotibial band syndrome with a Los Angeles sports medicine doctor that can help people address the pain of iliotibial band syndrome so they can get back to running or exercising regularly.
Treating Iliotibial Band Syndrome
- Rest- When you begin to experience iliotibial band syndrome, you may believe that you should “run through the pain.” In fact, this increases your risk that you will develop an acute injury that will be much more difficult to treat. Stop running and rest your leg until your pain begins to dissipate. This is especially vital if the pain appears at the knee insertion point.
- Massage Your Injury- In most cases, gently massaging a sore iliotibial band will provide relief. A tennis ball or foam roller will provide the right shape to fit into the trigger points for the iliotibial band to get relief. You can massage the hip, hamstring, IT band, quad or glute to relax the leg and bring pressure off of your knees. There is no proof that static stretching will provide improvement for iliotibial band syndrome but some runners claim that performing these stretches help to reduce their symptoms.
- Cross Train during Down Periods- You should not become completely immobile during your rest period as this can cause your iliotibial band symptoms to become worse. Instead, focus on exercises that do not require you to put impact on your kneed. Bicycling or pool running can help you keep your fitness levels up and increase blood flow to the injured area without causing you further pain. Start out with low levels of exercise and gently work your way up to more strenuous routines to ensure you do not overdo things.
- Get more Sleep- Your body repairs your soft tissue while you are sleeping. After you have experienced an injury such as iliotibial band syndrome you should make a point of getting more sleep to boost your recovery time. Your body is only capable of entering REM sleep after 90 minutes, so you will need to sleep for longer periods of time to ensure that your body is in a state where it can repair the damage.
- Build Your Strength- If your glutes or hips are weak it will put more pressure on your IT band, increasing your risk of injury. Performing strength building exercises that target these areas will help you get back to running more quickly and help to ensure that such injuries will not occur again in the future. Also perform core exercises to improve your balance to keep pressure off your IT band.
- Injections – The top Los Angeles orthopedic surgeons such as Dr. Raj offer injections for iliotibial band syndrome to help with pain relief. Traditionally, this would consist of cortisone injections which act as intense anti-inflammatory medication. These work well, and may be repeated every few months. A second type of injection is platelet rich plasma therapy, which involves taking a patient’s own blood, spinning it down and injecting the resultant solution of concentrated platelets and growth factors. These injections help heal the inflamed tendonitis and get patients back to physical activity much faster than otherwise.
Rarely, iliotibial band syndrome ends up with a need for surgery. Typically nonoperative treatment becomes sufficient. One of the best orthopedic surgeons in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills is Dr. Raj. As a Double Board Certified, Fellowship Trained sports medicine doctor, Dr. Raj serves as an ABC News Medical Correspondent and a WebMD expert consultant.