While it is more commonly known as “runner’s knee,” IT band friction syndrome does not spare cyclists. Symptoms include pain on the outside of the knee, tenderness and sometimes swelling. IT pain is typically associated with prolonged, repetitive activity. But more advanced cases may cause pain when simply walking or going up and down stairs. You may feel stiff or tight after periods of inactivity and especially after prolonged sitting. Now, this is something I myself have been battling with recently, and have heard a few of our clients talk about having the same issues, so I thought this would be a great time to share some of the tricks, BDP’s, or ways of preventing these issues moving forward.
Lets first start out by asking, what exactly is the IT band and how the symptoms actually occur? The iliotibial band (ITB) is a tendonous and fascial band that originates on the iliac crest (hipbone). It also attaches to the gluteal muscles (your rump) and the tensor fascia latae (TFL). The TFL is the muscle on the outside of your hip that moves your leg outward. The syndrome occurs as the band slides across the lateral femoral epicondyle, a bony bump on the outside of the femur. As your knee flexes and extends repeatedly, the band can become inflamed. This can happen through many different modes: overuse/overtraining, weak hip muscles, leg-length discrepancy, and/or training errors.
Now that we know more about the problem itself, I want to start to share with you was to fix and help prevent this from hindering you in the future. First, getting a proper warm up and ensuring your muscles are ready to go for your first exercise of the workout. This will really help loosen up your hip muscles and ensure you are ready for optimal intensity. This leads right into my second point; strengthen your hip muscles to help prevent unwanted stress on joints. With a proper warm up it allows you to perform your exercises at your highest level and achieve greatest levels of hypertrophy for your muscles to get the results you need. Finally after your workouts, you might want to ensure you stretch properly and can also do the foam roller, as needed.
I hope this helps a few of you out there that share in my IT band pain, and If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out!