What Causes Iliotibial Band Syndrome / Runners Knee?
Certain factors may make you more susceptible to developing runners knee or iliotibial band syndrome:
- A naturally tight or wide IT band
- Weak hip muscles such as gluteus medius
- Trigger points within the IT band and gluteal muscles
- Excessive hill running
- Running on a cambered surface
- Leg length difference
- Most of these factors can be addressed through changes to your training programme, the use of insoles or heel pads and a thorough rehabilitation programme.
- Iliotibial band friction syndrome may require long-term rehabilitation and frequent Iliotibial band stretches should be maintained even after symptoms cease.
- This knee pain occurs on the outside of the knee (at or around the lateral epicondyle of the femur).
- Tightness in the iliotibial band.
- Pain normally aggravated by running, particularly downhill.
- Pain during flexion or extension of the knee, made worse by pressing in at the side of the knee over the sore part.
- Weakness in hip abduction.
- Tender trigger points in the gluteal area may also be present.
What can a Sports Injury Professional do?
- Perform soft tissue or deep friction massage.
- Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as NSAID’s e.g. Ibuprofen.
- Use Myofascial release techniques which have been shown to be highly effective.
- Perform dry-needling techniques.
- Outline a rehabilitation strategy which may include stretches and exercises to strengthen the hip abductors.
- Use electrotherapeutic treatment techniques such as TENS or ultrasound to reduce pain and inflammation.
- In acute or prolonged cases a corticosteroid injection into the site of irritation may provide pain relief.
How can sports massage benefit the rehabilitation of this injury?
- The aim of sports massage is to release tension in the muscle and fascia and stimulate blood flow.
- Massage must not be performed during the acute stage of an injury - usually at least 48 hours after injury. For grade two and three strains, massage may not be suitable for over a week. This is because if there is still bleeding then heat and massage will increase bleeding, not stop it.