Long distance running and lateral knee pain

Long distance running and lateral knee pain

Are you a long distance runner suffering from lateral knee pain?  Before rolling out your IT band, read this!

If you’re a long distance runner, you may have heard this dreaded phrase: Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS).  ITBS is often determined by lateral knee pain while running or exercising.  The iliotibial band is a thick layer of fascia (connective tissue) that runs from the outside of the hip and attaches to the lateral part of the knee, right below the joint.  With repeated motion such as running or cycling, the IT band can rub against the femur (thigh bone) causing inflammation, thickening of the tissues around the joint, and joint pain.

Should I stretch or roll out my IT band?

This is not always the case!  The IT band is a non-contractile tissue, however it can become stuck to surrounding structures such as the quads, and restrictions may start to form.  This is when stretching is indicated.  However, ITBS can also be due to weak muscles such as the hip abductors, gluteus minimus and medius.  When this is the issue, stretching the IT band can only compound the problem, leading to more knee pain and instability.  This is when strengthening exercises are indicated.

How do I know whether to stretch my IT band or strengthen my hip abductors?

Registered Massage Therapists are able to assess a wide range of biomechanical dysfunctions that you may have in order to give you the appropriate stretches or strengthening exercises needed to combat your ITBS. 

If you suffer from lateral knee or any other kind of pain book an assessment and massage with Clayton Giles RMT.