Prevent and Fix: IT Band Syndrome
IT Band Syndrome (ITBS) is an overuse injury that can affect runners of all levels, from beginners to seasoned runners. It can be painful enough to bring anyone’s training program to a snail’s pace or a screeching halt. However with proper movement, you can easily overcome IT Band Syndrome, or even prevent it altogether!
What does your IT Band do?
Your Iliotibial Band is a long connective tissue that originates at your hip, runs down the outside of your thigh, slips over your knee, and attaches to the upper part of your tibia (lower leg). It’s the ligament that allows you to straighten and stabilize your knees as they bend.
What is ITBS (Iliotibial Band Syndrome)?
It is inflammation of the IT Band, most commonly felt at the knee, but can also be felt as a tightness the full length of the tissue. In some cases, it can be felt at the hip too… It is an overuse injury, which is important to note, because getting rid of it means using it less or using it differently than you are currently using it.
What causes it?
This is a larger question to answer because ITBS can have multiple causes, either working alone or in conjunction with each other. Here are some of the main causes:
- Overuse: It is called an overuse injury because it can be caused by any of the following: Over-training adding speed work too soon, too quick of an upgrade in mileage, or too many hard runs and not enough easy ones, and too many days of running without taking a break.
- Weak hip and core muscles: When your core is not doing a proper job of stabilizing your torso while running, it can create too much side-to-side motion in your hips. This will irritate the hip joint as well as the knee, because of the lack of stability their both having to deal with.
- Worn out running shoes: As your shoes break down from wear, their ability to support proper movement will become increasingly compromised. Worn out footwear has a direct, negative correlation to how your feet and legs move through the support cycle of your stride.
- Improper running technique: How you use your legs while running can have a huge affect on the motion of your hips and knees… and everything in between. Impact to your joints and overuse of your leg muscles are the two main culprits that can irritate the IT Band.
- Tight leg muscles: If the muscles in your legs are tight it will affect your range of motion and the freedom with which your legs swing. Subsequently, as you increase the mileage or speed of your workouts, your IT Bands are more likely to become irritated and inflamed.
As you can see, the predominant causes of ITBS are muscle weakness and poor running form. ChiRunning can help you to not only run correctly, with the least amount of stress on their body, but to run in a way that strengthens and loosens all the right muscles while you run.