EACH SPORT HAS ITS OWN ACHILLES HEEL
Every sport lends itself to certain common conditions. Basketball players sprain their ankles. Baseball players hurt their elbows. Golfers experience back pain. Skiers tend to have achy knees. For distance runners, the ailment du jour if often found in the dreaded Iliotibial Band, or ITB.
ILIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROME & SYMPTOMS
IT band syndrome is inflammation and irritation of the thick back of fascia that runs along the outer thigh, from the hip to the knee. Symptoms include a stinging sensation on the outside of the knee. Pain can become severe.
WHAT CAUSES IT BAND SYNDROME?
Pain and IT band-related conditions usually stem from two things: repetitive stress (overuse) and instability in the hips and...wait for it… feet.
Wait, what?! The feet? Yes, that’s right. IT Band Syndrome can start in your feet.
In short, if your feet are not able to properly absorb the impact of the ground it can cause problems in your ankles, knee and even lower back over time. Don’t get me wrong, shoes, like proper gait pattern, are important, but runners all over the world are able to run insane distances relatively pain free with nothing more than a thin piece of rubber between their feet and the earth. So what gives?
LACE UP YOUR BODY TO AVOID IT BAND SYNDROME
How do world-class runners avoid ITB Syndrome? Before they lace up their shoes, they lace up their body first. These athletes take time to train and acquaint their feet to the environment they live in. This doesn’t just benefit the foot, it supports everything up the chain.
Think about it this way: when you put on your running shoes, you take the time to lace up to the right fit and create a secure knot, correct? Well, consider these exercises as “lacing up” your body. Sound silly? Yep. But stay with me here–training your feet and hips and maintaining good tissue balance between your quads and hamstrings can help you avoid the dreaded IT Band Syndrome like symptoms.
YOUR PRE-RUN WARMUP
Being proactive to help avoiding ITBS can be as simple as incorporating a few movements into your pre-run warm up. Here’s what you’re trying to achieve by lacing up your body before you lace up your shoes:
- Activate the foot so it can properly absorb the impact of the ground and preserve healthy ankle movement and knee position.
- Activate the glutes so they can support the position of the femur and pelvis and keep the knee tracking over the foot, thus reducing stress of the knee.
- Maintain quad flexibility so the knee isn't under too much tension, which can lead to tracking issues due to muscle tightness.
- Maintain a healthy strength ratio between your quads and hamstrings. Muscle balance, baby!
MOVEMENTS TO PREVENT ILIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROME:
Give your TFL some T-L-C!
Increase elasticity in the quad.
Bet you can’t do the last movement! Just keep practicing and you will get it! You should strive to have relatively as much dexterity in your toes as you do you fingers. Trust me, you can do this. I believe in you!
Your new secret weapon against IT Band Syndrome. Tight glutes can also feed into issues. Eccentric loading, couples with core engagement is a good thing. Scratch that... I mean a GREAT thing.
Can you do it with your eyes closed?
Thank you for taking a moment to read this blog. I hope you found it valuable. Please click the like button and make sure to share this page on Facebook if you think it could help someone in your community. If you think you may be dealing with IT Band Syndrome, learn more about the signs and symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome and don’t hesitate to make an appointment. We are on your team!