How To Prevent Iliotibial Band Syndrome

How To Prevent Iliotibial Band Syndrome


Iliotibial band syndrome (or ITB syndrome) is a common, painful and debilitating running injury. We explore how to avoid it and what to do if you have it. 

What Is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

ITB syndrome is a common over-use running injury which is felt as a pain (and sometimes swelling) on the outside of the knee. But it’s not a knee injury. Iiotibial band syndrome is inflammation of the thick ligament which runs from the hip to the shin, all the way down the outside of the thigh. One way to assess ITB syndrome is to bend your knee at a 45 degree angle. If you experience pain on the outside of the knee, ITB syndrome could be at the root of it. 

What Causes Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

ITB syndrome is an overuse injury and can be caused by your gait, worn-out shoes, running on cambers or downhill (I’m sure you all know that pain) or even running too many track sessions (because you are going round in a large circle). Runners of all ages and experience levels can get iliotibial band syndrome, but it is more common in women than in men (possibly because of the angle of our hips and pelvis). 

How Can I Prevent Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

– if you feel knee pain, back off the mileage or take complete rest from running for a week (cross training is fine but avoid impact, and don’t swim breaststroke)

– warm up properly by walking and jogging before setting off running

– keep your shoes in good condition and replace them when they start to wear

– if possible, run in the middle of the road, away from the camber (this is only possible on   empty roads with clear visibility)

– avoid concrete running surfaces

– if you’re running on a track, warm up and cool down by running the “wrong way” (just stick to the very outside lane)

– consider seeing a physio or podiatrist to assess your gait and foot arches

– stretch the iliotibial band often, use a foam roller, and get sports massages when you can

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