Many runners suffer from IT Band Syndrome, which is an overuse injury that causes pain on the outside of the knee. To relieve symptoms, people tend to stretch, massage and foam roll around the knee. However, this may not be the best long-term approach according to some recent research; it is found that strengthening may be the key to long-term success and offer better results. In a small study, nine runners suffering from IT Band Syndrome participated in a 6-week strengthening and stretching rehabilitation program. At the end of the study, the runners noted a decrease in pain, however, IT Band flexibility hadn’t changed.
“The gluteus maximus and medius attach to your IT Band. When these muscles contract, they pull on the IT Band and keep your hips and knees aligned. However, if these muscles aren’t strong, your hips and knees can twist. This triggers the IT Band to rub over underlying tissue and cause pain on the outside of your knee,” says study author Reed Ferber, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Calgary.
Simple tools can be used to help strengthen hips to prevent and treat IT Band Syndrome. Mini Flat Bands or Resistance Bands can be utilized for various strengthening exercises; adductor lifts, rear lifts, single knee to chest extensions, and supine 90 degree rotations are a great place to start building hip strength.
Strength training, along with massage relief, will have you off and running in no time!