As anyone in The Buffalo Chips—Sacramento’s oldest running club—will tell you, running can be a highly rewarding activity. It is a great way to improve your cardiovascular system, shed pounds, and even sleep better at night. Of course, there is a certain degree of injury risk entailed with running, as there is with any physical activity.
Ankle sprains, stress fractures, and plantar fasciitis are some injuries runners can sustain, but another common one is iliotibial (IT) band syndrome. In this condition, the IT band—which extends from the pelvic bone, running along the outside of the thigh, and down to the top of the shin bone—becomes so tight that it starts to rub against the thighbone. This results in pain between the knee and hip, which worsens during physical activity.
It is common for runners to try treatment options like icing, stretching, and foam rolling the IT band, but these are ineffective. ITBS is not a matter of inflammation (which would benefit from an icing regimen) or a tight muscle (which can benefit from foam rolling and stretching). The root cause of the condition is excessive pelvis movement, so the key to treating the condition is controlling the movement by strengthening supporting muscles.
Some exercises to treat IT band syndrome include:
- Side leg raises. Lie on your left side and raise your right leg in a controlled manner to 45 degrees, then slowly lower it back down. Keep your pelvis in a neutral position. If this is too easy, you may need to use rubber tubing for added resistance. Then do the same with the other leg.
- Clamshells. Lie on your left side with knees and ankles together, knees bent in a 90-degree angle. Open your legs in a controlled motion by using your upper glute muscle. Don’t rock your pelvis and maintain a neutral spine. Repeat with other side.
- Side hip bridges. Lie on your left side, feet propped up on an elevated surface 1-2 feet off the ground. While keeping a stable spine, lift your torso by using your hip muscles and pushing down with your left foot. Then return to the starting position.
If you would like more information on exercises to treat IT band syndrome, or you require treatment for any foot or ankle injury or condition, contact McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group. Give our Carmichael, CA office a call at (916) 961-3434, or take a moment right now and fill out our online form to request your appointment today.