Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
The ITB (also called the iliotibial band or iliotibilal tract) is a thick, fibrous tendon that runs along the outside of each leg. These bands run from the iliac (crest of the pelvis), over the greater trochanter at the side of the hip, down the leg, and inserts on the outside of the knee at the top of the tibia (tibial tubercle). Each ITB works with the thigh muscles during flexion and extension of the knee to slow you down when running and helps provide stability to the knee joints.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is a common condition in athletes, especially runners and cyclists, and occurs when the IT band becomes irritated, inflamed and tight. Excessive rubbing of the IT band over the tibial tubercle (bony prominence at the outside of the knee) is a common cause of the irritation that leads to inflammation, tightness and pain. In addition to knee pain, soreness in the hip may also occur.
The initial pain of ITBS is cause by tightness, irritation, and inflammation in the IT band. Once inflammation in the IT band is reduced and healing begins, scar tissue starts to develop on the iliotibial tract. This scar tissue is tough and inflexible and it stops the muscles attached to the IT band from moving smoothly. This causes further pain at the knee and the tightness is usually felt in the hip (at the top of the iliotibial tract) and down the leg to the knee.
Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Symptoms of ITBS in runners usually begin with pain developing during a run which subsides shortly after the run finishes. Pain continues to appear with every run eventually progressing to more constant pain while walking or going up or down stairs.
- Pain at the lateral (outside) knee
- Swelling over the knee
- Knee pain, possibly accompanied by hip pain
- Stiffness running down the side of the thigh
Risks of ITBS
The risk of iliotibial band syndrome can increase with any condition or activity that may cause excessive rubbing of the ITB, such as:
- Increasing training distance or intensity to quickly
- Performing squats while lifting weights
- Poor form when biking (i.e. incorrect cleat position, saddle height or positioning from bars)
- Improper shoe fit when running
- Running on a slanted surface or downhill
- Muscle imbalances (i.e. weak hip abductor, quads more developed than hamstrings)
- Poor foot structure (flat feet, pronation), an awkward gait (i.e. bow-legged, knock knees), or abnormal leg lengths
- Playing court sports with frequent lateral movement (i.e. tennis, handball)
Tests for Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Your doctor will do a physical examination which may include range of motion tests. He or she may arrange x-rays and/or an MRI. An x-ray will rule out calcification or bone spurs in the area. An MRI can identify the inflammation or damaged IT band. It can also determine if there is any other damage in the soft tissue neighbouring the iliotibial tract.
Treating Your IT Band Syndrome (ITBS)
Initial treatment of iliotibial band syndrome should focus on resting your leg and reducing the inflammation to help relieve pain. Do not train through the pain. It may be necessary to stop training for a week or two.
But treating your iliotibial tract with cold compression, therapeutic ultrasound and blood flow stimulation therapy will reduce the pain and inflammation so you can get back to training sooner. However, once the pain is gone it does not mean you are healed. You must get rid of the scar tissue to correct the problem and ultrasound therapy is the best way to do it!
When your IT band becomes inflamed and sore during a run, treat it immediately with cold compression therapy. Cold compression therapy is the safe and natural way to control pain and swelling while minimizing tissue damage. Along with cold compression, ultrasound therapy should be used to further reduce inflammation. But more importantly, therapeutic ultrasound will treat the scar tissue on your IT band. Treating this scar tissue is the only way to get rid of iliotibial band syndrome.
Reducing scar tissue is the most important step in treating ITBS. It will improve elasticity in your IT band, allowing your muscles to glide smoothly once again to prevent further inflammation.
Complete your IT band treatments with blood flow stimulation therapy, or BFST®. It is the most natural way to speed healing of your damaged iliotibial tendon and surrounding tissue. BFST® enhances your body's own healing process by simply increasing the amount of blood that flows to your outer leg and knee to improve the health of your tissue by delivering an abundance of nutrients to the area.
Freezie Wrap® Cold Compression Therapy
To decrease inflammation and swelling and relieve the pain of ITBS, doctor's recommend cold compression therapy. Frequent, cold compression treatments within the first 72 hours of the iliotibial tendon becoming inflamed is an effective way to relieve pain and swelling while limiting the amount of damage done to your tissue. In addition, cold compression therapy can reduce, or even eliminate, the need for NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that can be harmful to your body.
The Leg/Arm Freezie Wrap® is the cold compression tool you need to treat your IT band in an effective and convenient way. It is so versatile you can also use it to treat any pain you may be experiencing in your back, knee or legs.
The Leg/Arm Freezie Wrap® uses a supercharged cooling gel pack that chills in the fridge, not in the freezer like ice or other freezer packs. This gives you deep cold therapy without the risk of 'cold burns' or cryoburn. The medical-grade wrap delivers cold right where you need it.
Cold compression therapy works by interrupting and slowing nerve and cell function in the injured area and reducing swelling that can block blood vessels. This is important because once blood vessels are blocked or damaged, they can no longer carry oxygen and nutrients to your iliotibial tract and tissue cells begin to break-down. Without cold compression therapy, cellular break-down and tissue damage continues because the cells do not get the oxygen they need to survive.
By limiting the amount of damage done to your tissue, you limit the amount of healing that needs to occur. This is a very important step to heal your IT band faster and with less pain!
Click here to learn more about Cold Compression Freezie Wraps®
Once the inflammation in your IT band has been reduced, nourishing and strengthening your knee, hip, leg and surrounding tissue is recommended. Using blood flow stimulation therapy will speed your recovery and heal your iliotibial tract more completely preparing it for strengthening exercises. Talk to your doctor or physical therapist to find out which exercises are appropriate for your situation.
Inferno Wrap® Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy
After severe inflammation and swelling is reduced you can begin to treat your IT band with blood flow stimulation therapy. BFST® increases the amount of blood that flows naturally to your iliotibial tract to nourish and speed healing.
When you stop moving your knee because it hurts the blood flow is reduced, limiting your body's natural ability to heal itself.
By treating your knee and IT band with BFST® you can increase your body's blood supply to the IT band and increase your body's natural healing power.
An Inferno Wrap® is the tool you need to treat your sore IT band because it speeds healing and relaxes the surrounding muscles. With BFST®, tissues are safely and gently stimulated. Your body responds with a rapid increase in blood flow to the area, increasing the supply of oxygen and nutrients to injured tissue cells to promote healing. The Leg/Arm Inferno Wrap® from MendMeShop® provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief and healing with no side effects.
In addition, the improved blood flow helps reduce the risk of atrophy in your muscles. When you stop moving your leg and knee due to pain, your muscles and other tissue can become weaker and dead cells and toxins in the area can cause further tissue deterioration - this can lead to atrophy in your quadriceps, hamstrings and other leg muscles. The Leg/Arm Inferno Wrap® is an amazing healing tools that can be used to treat your entire body.
By clearing the area of toxins and increasing the amount of oxygen and nutrients to your IT band and leg muscles, the risk of atrophy (muscle weakness and/or deterioration) is greatly reduced. Keeping your upper leg and knee joint tissue as healthy as possible throughout the healing process will allow you to improve leg strength again once your pain has gone and your IT band has healed.
Click here to learn more about how BFST® and Inferno Wraps® work.
With these 3 easy therapies, cold compression, ultrasound and BFST®, you will notice significantly reduced pain, faster healing, and an incredible improvement in the range of motion of your knee.
If you are experiencing knee pain, it is recommended that you see your doctor for a proper diagnosis as there are many injuries and conditions that could be the cause of your pain. An MRI will help your doctor determine what damage has been done, the proper treatments, whether surgery is necessary, and which procedure will be performed. Speak to your doctor before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they're right for you and your condition.
During your recovery, you may have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your knee until your pain and inflammation settle, and you gain more mobility and strength in your joint. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!