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How To Treat ITB Syndrome

How To Treat ITB Syndrome
How To Treat ITB Syndrome

Treating Ilio-Tibial Band Syndrome

Sydney physiotherapists will frequently be called on to assess and treat ITB complaints. Treating ITB syndrome requires looking at all of the potential causes and assessing their possible involvement in each individual athletes situation. However as a rule if you don’t first give yourself a break from training then your ITB syndrome can become chronic, it is a good idea to rest from running or cycling (or both depending on what brings on the symptoms) as soon as you notice any ITB pain and go and get assessed by your physiotherapist.

Assessing And Addressing Foot Biomechanics

Excessive rolling in of the foot during running (referred to as over-pronation) causes your shin bone to rotate inwards placing extra strain on the ITB. Looking at the biomechanics of the foot, assessing footwear and the potential relevance for shoe inserts is an important part of ITBS management. Changes in footwear and prescribed exercises from your physiotherapist can play a significant role in ITB rehabilitation so too can orthotics if deemed appropriate.

Assessing And Addressing Hip Muscle Weakness

Muscular weakness in the hip and other core stability muscles can be a cause of ITB syndrome. Specifically weak gluteus medius muscles in long distance runners is considered a frequent cause of ITB syndrome. Following a regime of strengthening exercises prescribed by a physiotherapist directed at the gluteus medius muscle as well as other relevant muscular weakness can help both treat and prevent ITB complaints.

Assessing And Addressing IT Band Tightness

The ITB is not a muscle, it is a very thick piece of tissue passing from the hip down to the knee. As a result you can’t actually stretch the ITB, however your physio may well prescribe stretching exercises to lengthen the muscles in your hips that feed into the ITB as well as muscles in proximity to the ITB all helping to make the soft tissue more mobile and stretch and glide easier.
Combining these stretching activities with the use of a foam roller or therapist directed massage techniques to appropriate thigh and hip musculature thus releasing ITB tightness can be an effective treatment for ITB syndrome.

Prevention of ITB Syndrome

A pinch of prevention is worth a pound of cure. ITBS can be a persistent and frustrating condition for the athlete. Therefore the ideal is that you don’t get the syndrome in the first instance. Some of the steps you can take in the prevention of ITB syndrome can include.

  • Get fitted professionally for your running shoes – either at a specialist running store, by a physiotherapist with a special interest in running or ideally a sports podiatrist. Skimping on your running shoes is false economy as the dollars you save ultimately you may well end up spending ten fold more on treatment for a condition the right shoes could well have helped prevent.
  • Shoes age – just like you do so make sure you change your shoes regularly, the same pair of shoes won’t last you years.
  • Try to avoid running on cambered surfaces – and always try to run where the footpath or road is flat. Ideally running on a more forgiving surface the the road such as running around a football field or park.
  • Consider cross training – mixing up your training will mean you aren’t always repeating the same activity day after day and performing the exact same motion at the knee every day.

Most importantly don’t ignore the problem. You can not run through ITBS so the sooner you consult your physiotherapist the sooner you will be back training pain free.

Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products mentioned. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance regarding How To Treat ITB Syndrome should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, general practitioner, sports medicine specialist or physiotherapist.

Hayden Latimer is the founder of and principle physiotherapist at Sydney Physio Clinic. Since graduating from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand he’s gained wide experience practicing across the globe for over 15 years and is now extremely knowledgeable in helping people reduce discomfort and restore function and mobility.


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