Back to running after the summer holidays – Understanding the ITB and running pitfalls! 3 Sep 2019
The ITB is short for the iliotibial band. It is a band of fascia that runs down the outside of the leg. It that runs from the pelvis, down the hip to the lateral aspect of the knee.
The ITB flicks over the bottom of the femur (thigh bone) at 30 degrees of knee bend and then back again when you straighten the knee. When this happens the lower leg bone (tibia) rotates as well. With repetition and poor muscular control, this can result in inflammation on the outside of the knee. This repetition of movement, common in running, results in an injury known as iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBFS).
The main causes of ITB tightening and friction syndrome can be linked to:
- Increasing your weekly running mileage too quickly. If increasing your distance, try to increase it by no more than 10% per week.
- After 60-90 minutes of running, muscle tissue can break down. Strength work around the hips, knees and core stability is imperative when you are increasing your distance
- As your mileage increases make sure you roll out your ITB with a roller or massage stick.
- Appropriate footwear. Much has been made of supportive footwear or minimal support like barefoot running. However, this is sometimes less important than the way that you actually run. Not everybody runs the same. Some principles of running biomechanics are not to change your shoes too close to an event, monitor the response of your body to any new footwear and chose running shoes as opposed to tennis shoes or fashion trainers. For more analysis of your running and biomechanics see us in the clinic. We can help you through this and do a full biomechanical assessment of your body and running technique.
- Stretch your ITB. This is a term that is used for simplicity but is actually false. The ITB is a piece of fascia and is therefore very difficult to stretch, what you actually do is stretch the muscles that sit by the side of the ITB or ‘blend’ with it. Primarily the outer quadriceps (vastus lateralis) and the tensor fascia latae (TFL), see the diagram above to understand why. By stretching these muscles the ITB is released and feels easier.
For a full analysis of any running-related injury come into the clinic to get a full assessment of your injury, stability, biomechanics and current running program. Click below to book:
ITB, Hip Flexor and Quad Stretching Exercises using the 66fit Foam Roller
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