A common injury among runners and cyclists is iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome. Your IT Band is a supportive layer of connective tissue that starts from the hip where it is connected to the tensor fascia lata and stretches down to the outer part of your knee. This structure works to stabilize your hip/pelvis. When this is aggravated from repetitive activity, the resulting pain can occur anywhere along the length of the IT band.
The most common region to see pain from the IT band is at it’s insertion at the knee, followed closely by pain around the side of your hip. Frequently, the actual cause for aggravating your IT band is due to a weak or improper functioning gluteus medius muscle. Both structures help with hip abduction. If your gluteus medius muscle is malfunctioning, your IT band tries to carry the load, which results in strain of the IT band.
Treating IT Band Syndrome
The initial treatment for iliotibial band syndrome includes intensive stretching of the IT band and strengthening the gluteus medius muscle. Manual therapies such as a foam roller are useful for pain relief. Importantly, correcting the reason why the gluteus medius muscle is malfunctioning, and correcting any biomechanical flaws during activity that may be stressing the IT Band should be made as well.
If the above treatment regimen is insufficient, then either prolotherapy or platelet rich plasma injectable treatments are an excellent and healthy approach to treating this condition at the knee or the hip. Frequently, treating not only the IT band but also the gluteus medius muscle will get you back into gear.