ITB syndrome is something that every athlete at some point crosses path with. Athletes experience pain along the outside of the kneecap or the outside thigh. Anyone who is into running, football, cycling and the like is prone to this injury.
The ITB starts at the hips and inserts just below the outside region of the kneecap. It crosses over the thigh bone, soft tissues and a small sack around the knee.
There are various ways in which the IT band gets irritated. If you have a weak gluteus muscle, the leg while running tends to rotate a little more inwards than it normally should. This irritates the IT band due to its structure.
Another cause of the inward rotation of the leg is overpronation of the foot while leads to the IT band rubbing of the soft tissue structure around the knee causing irritation. So if you are constantly running, chances are that you are going to stress out the ITB.
There are two ways to look at this: prevention and cure!
Both revolve around strengthening the hip and glutes muscles. First thing to do is to stop running temporarily but this is not equivalent of being sedentary. Strengthening the problem areas is the best way to get back to your sport.
Besides, stretching regularly, foam rolling and replacing your running gear as and when required, these exercises will go a long way in both the recovery and prevention process.
- Clamshells: Lie down on your side with the knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Keeping your ankles together, use your glutes to raise one leg like a clamshell. Use a resistance band to make it tougher. Do 15-20 repetitions on both sides.
- Pistol squats/one legged squat: Stand on one leg and slowly squat trying to get parallel to the floor. Extend the other leg straight in front of you and ensure that the knee of the planted leg doesn’t cave in or cross your toes. Repeat 5-10 times on each leg.
- Side leg raises: Lie down on your side with both legs stacked. Raise the top leg in one line and hold for a couple of seconds. Repeat 10-15 times on each side.
- Glute bridges: lie down on your back with the knee bent and hands to the side. Raise your hips using your glute muscles and slowly get back. Make sure that when elevated your body is in a straight line. The same can be performed with one leg raised up to make it more challenging. Do 15-20 repetitions.
- Side hip drop: Stand on the edge of a step with one leg and drop the hip down as you tap the floor and back. Make sure that dropping the hip and getting it back up is controlled. Repeat 15-20 times on each leg.
- Banded sidewalk: Wear a resistance band just a little over your knees. Get down into a quarter squat position and walk sideways keeping the distance between your feet constant. Don’t let the resistance bans pull your legs together. Walk 10-15 steps to the right and then to the left.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPILXR6-PPw
Check with the doctor before starting any exercise routine. ITBS can be a pest of an injury but don’t fret too much. It is very common and these exercises will help you get back to your sport and out of the sidelines in no time!