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Sometimes we push ourselves past where our body is truly at. But some of the time, our body tissues haven't been given enough time to adapt to heavier/faster loads. Pushing too hard comes with a huge risk of injury when we push our body tissue more than where they've been trained to be.

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One of the most common running injury is the Iliotibial Band Syndrome, otherwise know as the IT Band Syndrome! 

Iliotibial band friction syndrome occurs when the long tendon of the tensor fascia lata muscle which runs down the outside of the thigh to the knee knee (called the iliotibial band or IT band) rubs against the outside of the knee joint causing friction, pain, and inflammation. Weak hip muscles, particularly the gluteus medius are also thought to be a significant contributing factor..

  • Any weakness in GMax is clearly going to affect running and the stability of the pelvis and thus the ITB.
  • The quads control the knee position when the foot strikes the ground and the knee bends. Weak quads contributes to poor control of this movement and as a result greater stress on the ITB.

Solution

Strength work for these 3 muscle groups seems to help in the majority of ITBS cases.

How to reduce inflammation and tightness

  • Rest is important to allow the inflamed tendon to heal. Continuing to run with ITB syndrome will most likely make it worse. Initially, complete rest is a good idea but later activities other than running which does not make the pain worse such as swimming or cycling should be done to maintain fitness.
  • Apply cold therapy or ice to reduce pain and inflammation. Ice should be applied for 10 to 15 minutes every hour until the initial pain has gone then later 2 or 3 times a day and/or after exercise is a good idea to ensure the pain does not return.
  • Massage/ foam roller – start by massaging the non-painful areas of the ITB, including the TFL at the top. 
  • Stretches can help settle symptoms if it’s not too sore (see details above)
  • Taping to offload the ITB
  • Acupuncture - inserting a needle into a muscle tends to cause that muscle to relax. 
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Return to full fitness gradually! This can often start within two weeks of initial treatment but will depend on the extent of the injury. Build up running time from a much lower point than you left off before the injury. A reduction to 50% of original mileage or time should be OK. Apply ice to the knee for 15 minutes after training, even if it doesn't hurt. This will help keep any potential inflammation in check.

Increase running time rather than distance for the first few runs. Running distance should be increased by no more than 10% a week (depending on original fitness levels). If you feel pain or the inflammation comes back then go back a couple of steps to reduce the inflammation and start again.

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