“I’ve got this pain on the outside of my knee…”
“It’s like someone is sticking an ice pick right here…”
“I can’t run/go downstairs/squat to pick up my child…”
There are few things in life that can be as debilitating as knee pain. Every step, every stair, every lunge, squat, and even bend can cause pain. Lately I have been getting a lot of emails from readers asking about one specific type of knee pain. It occurs on the lateral (outside) side of the knee and happens every time you bend your knee beyond a certain angle. IT band syndrome, commonly referred to as jumpers knee or runners knee, can completely sideline you. But you’re in luck! As a physical therapist this is a problem that I treat on a daily basis. In today’s “Feel Better Now” series post we’ll be discussing everything you need to know to eliminate this pain from your life completely! It’s one of my favorite problems to treat, and it’s soon to be one of your favorite to eliminate!
What is it: The iliotibial band is actually a long broad tendon. There is a little small muscle that comes off the front of your hip called the tensor fascia latte. The tendon to this muscle is incredibly long – it essentially runs the length of the entire outside of your thigh. It then crosses the knee joint and connects to your tibia just below your knee on the outside.
Why you get it: IT band pain is typically caused by three things (most of the time 2 or three are present): excessive tightness in the IT band, hip weakness, and overuse. When there is too much tension in the IT band it rubs back-and-forth over the bony prominences on the outside of your knee. Over time, this excessive friction can cause pain in the tendon. Hip weakness results in faulty knee alignment and mechanics during movement; this is another common cause. I also treat IT band pain a lot for people who are increasing their activity. It’s probably one of the most typical overuse injuries that I see. Simply put – people try to increase too much too quickly. This sudden increase in stress on your joints/muscles results in increased strain in the area of your IT band and that sucker starts to hurt.
Unlucky for you, if you have read this far you probably have IT band pain. Lucky for you, there is a ton that you can do about it!
What else hurts? Chances are I’ve got you covered!!