Runners knee, or Iliotibial Band Syndrome, is a common injury in those increasing the amount they run or cycle. Could it be what’s causing your knee pain?
What is Iliotibial Band (ITB) syndrome?
Your ITB is the thick band of fascia (tissue) that runs from the side of your hip, down the outside of your thigh, and attaches onto the outside of the top of your tibia (shin bone). Your ITB works with your knee ligaments to help stabilise your knee. ITB syndrome is the term given for when your ITB rubs repeatedly on the lower part of your thigh, near where it attaches onto your shin bone, causing irritation and pain.
What causes ITB syndrome?
This is most commonly seen in runners and cyclists. It’s an overuse injury, so will often come on following an increase in the distances you’re running or cycling. It can also be caused due to other reasons such as your footwear being worn out or not suited to your biomechanics, running on slippery or uneven ground, or muscle weakness or imbalance around your hips and knees.
What are the symptoms?
You will usually feel a pain or ache in the outside of your knee when running or cycling. The pain is often worse when running downhill, or when exercising for an increased length of time to what you’re used to. The pain will usually stop as soon as you stop your aggravating activity. You will often find you have tenderness and sensitivity to pressure around the outside of your knee.
What is the treatment?
It is advisable to reduce or even stop your aggravating activities to give the inflammation a chance to settle for the first few weeks after onset. Try to get guidance from a physiotherapist regarding footwear, structured & graded return to training, and a strength & conditioning programme to address any muscle weakness or imbalance which may be contributing to your symptoms.