Running and your IT BandThe 2016 Summer Olympics are underway and people all over the world are looking forward to watching elite athletes participate in sports like basketball, swimming, and volleyball. Of course, one of the most popular Olympic sports is track and field. Runners spend countless hours training to represent their nation, all the while hoping to avoid injury.

Running is a fantastic cardiovascular exercise, even for non-Olympians, but it is important to realize it comes with a certain degree of injury risk. Achilles tendinitis, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures are some of the possible injuries that can develop if you don’t take appropriate preventative measures, but there is another common overuse injury to know about—iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS).

Perhaps the best place to start is understanding the iliotibial band itself. This connective tissue is a ligament (connects bone to bone) starting at the iliac crest in your pelvis, running down the outside of your hip, crossing the knee, and ultimately attaching at the top of the shinbone (tibia). The band is responsible for stabilizing the outer part of your knee during its entire range of motion.

Iliotibial band syndrome is an overuse injury that can develop whenever you perform physical activities causing the leg to repeatedly turn inwards. Due to pronation—the biomechanical process used by the foot during the ground portion of each step—running constitutes exactly such an activity.

So how do you recognize ITBS? The predominant symptoms are pain and swelling on the outside of the knee. Due to the location of these symptoms, many runners mistakenly believe they have sustained a knee injury. You can test this yourself by bending and holding your knee at a 45-degree angle. If you experience pain on the outside of the knee, you may have an IT band issue.

If you want confirmation, though, come to McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group for evaluation. We may need to order an MRI to provide an accurate diagnosis, but we will get to the bottom of the matter. Of course, you can also come see us for any other sports injury that causes you pain or restricts your mobility as well. Give us a call at (916) 961-3434 or take a moment and fill out our online form to request an appointment with our Carmichael, CA foot doctor office today.

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