The IT band is a dense, fibrous tissue band on the lateral aspect of your leg that can be the source of your hip and/or knee pain. One function of this band is to provide stability to the knee. However, when this band is subject to overuse or repetitive strain motions, it can lead to fatigue and ultimately, injury. The key is to figure out what is causing this pain. If there is pain present, there likely is an underlying dysfunction that has been there longer than the actual pain has been present.
One of the most common injuries we address with Active Release Techniques (ART) is IT band syndrome. The fascial band travels down the outer hip and inserts on the lateral knee. Given the distance it covers, it is clearly evident why someone could be experiencing pain in the upper/outer hip or at the lower portion at its attachment at the lateral knee. If the IT band dysfunction is not addressed, the pain can persist for quite some time. An important, and very common soft tissue junction to assess is where the IT band and vastus lateralis (lateral quad muscle) lie adjacent to one another. They are both large structures with slightly different actions. The IT band and vastus lateralis junction can develop adhesions where the two tissues meet and cause decreased motion or slide between them. This limited motion can alter normal hip and knee mechanics, which in turn can cause pain in the hip and/or knee.
Although pain along the IT band can affect anyone, we typically see a higher incidence in this injury with long distance/marathon runners and cyclists. This is a classical example of an overuse injury. It isn’t uncommon for someone who has had previous knee injury and/or surgery to experience pain in the IT band since it travels down the lateral hip to its insertion on the tibia. Pain could also develop from muscular imbalances being present as well as weak hip muscles that are responsible for hip stability.
We help our patients recover from IT band injuries quickly and permanently by implementing ART into their treatment program. Improving the motion and slide between adjacent tissues allows them to work more efficiently. ART can help minimize the risk of developing adhesions within these soft tissues, which often lead to pain and decreased joint motion.
If you are experiencing lower extremity pain such as IT band syndrome, or any other soft tissue dysfunction, ART can most likely improve your condition. We love seeing our patients get back to doing what they love best! Whether it’s golfing, gardening, running, or playing with your grandchildren, we’re here to help you do what you love doing pain-free!
Once we get you to where you are pain free and can manage this condition on your own, if things start to act up again, this video demonstrates a great drill to get things calmed down and dialed back in.