IT Band Pain Treatment

You have been running a lot recently and developed intense knee pain during your runs. Stretching and foam rolling provides little to no relief. Rest is helpful but the knee pain comes back as soon as you start running again. The knee pain can be so severe that you are unable to complete your run. A tight IT band may be your problem.

IT band pain is a common cause for knee and hip pain in runners whose activity involves repetitive hip and knee bending.  It often happens when:

  • Mileage increased too rapidly
  • Hips are not flexible or hypermobile.
  • Pelvis instability/misalignment
  • Weak core muscles 
  • Poor foot alignment and mobility (pronation or supination)

Iliotibial Band Syndrome, also known as Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome, is often described as a sharp, burning pain around the outside part of the knee, thigh or hip.  IT band pain is often noticed during exercise and gets worse if you continue the activity. It's caused by friction and inflammation of the IT band over the bone at the knee joint.  The IT band is a stretch of fibrous soft tissue that extends from the outer hip down to below the knee.  The IT band fibers begin at the pelvis and runs on the outer thigh and attaches to the lower leg. The IT band is controlled by the tensor fascia latae muscle which assists with flexion, abduction and internal rotation at the hip. The IT band's primary function is to coordinate muscle activity to stabilize the knee during running, jumping and side to side movements.   

Home Treatment

IT Band pain can be very painful to the point where you have to stop running completely. Things you can do at home to get relief and decrease the pain and inflammation are:

  • Ice, Heat, Ice!  Also known as hot and cold contrast therapy, alternating between ice and heat therapy can help minimize painful inflammation while stimulating blood circulation needed for healing.  
  • Gentle stretching of the hip musclesand joint to increase flexibility and decrease the stiffness of the IT band. 
  • Self massage with a foam roller or massage ball can help relieve knots and break up scar tissue that builds up in the muscles connecting to the IT Band. 

If rest and self treatment does not resolve your knee pain, you may should consult with your doctor or therapist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.  Call 914-421-1502 or schedule your appointment online.  

Medical Treatment

Your chiropractor is often the preferred doctor for running related knee pain. We start with reviewing your training history, when your symptoms began, how the problem has progressed and what movements makes your knee pain worse. Your muscle flexibility, strength and range of motion will be examined to identify abnormalities that may be causing your knee pain. We also check your hip alignment, knee alignment and feet stability that contribute to causing a tight IT band and knee pain. Our goal is to identify the root cause of your IT band pain and provide the appropriate treatment plan to relieve your pain and quickly return you to running.

During the acute pain phase, we use therapies such as ultrasound and electric muscle stimulation to decrease pain and inflammation. As the pain and inflammation decreases, we use joint manipulation therapy and the Graston Technique to increase mobility of your joints and muscles. 

With severe cases, your medical doctor may recommend anti-inflammatory drugs or injections to help control the inflammation and pain. Although not common, surgery may be an option to relieve tension on the IT band.  

Don't let your IT band pain stop you from running.  Call (914) 421-1502 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online today.