An inflammation of the Illiotibial band (ITB), runner's knee can be a recurrent problem if not treated appropriately.
So what is the Illiotibial band? It is a sheath of connective tissue that runs from the butt, down the outside of the thigh, to attach to the lateral (outside) surface of the tibia. It is used to extend the knee joint (straightening), and also abduct the hip (move it outwards).
Runner's knee (or ITB syndrome) occurs when the ITB becomes irritated. The greatest tension on the ITB occurs when the knee is bent at around 20-30 degrees - unfortunately, during running, the knee is typically flexed at around 20 degrees when the foot hits the ground - this repeated motion causes friction on the lateral epicondlye of the femur (the bony bit on the outside of the knee).Symptoms of ITB syndrome include:
- Pain on the outside of the thigh, especially around the lateral epicondlye
- Pain worse during running, especially downhill
- Pain when flexing or straightening the knee
Immediate treatment should include reducing running mileages, and regular icing and stretching. Sports massage and myofascial releasing techniques are also very helpful for this condition.
However, to resolve this it is essential to do appropriate ITB stretches and exercises to strengthen the hip abductors.