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How to Best Prevent IT (Iliotibial) Band Syndrome

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IT band syndrome is common and it hurts a lot. Your goal here is to prevent IT band syndrome but before that, it is imperative that you learn a few things about it. The Iliotibial band refers to a long and thick fibrous band of connective tissue. It runs along the outside of your thigh through the kneecap then ending in the tibia of your lower leg.

You must know that the IT band allows the hips to extend and rotate. Aside from that, it also functions by stabilising the knees. Sports that require repetitive flexing of the knee like running, cycling, weightlifting, and hiking can result to IT band syndrome. The IT band syndrome is characterised by painful inflammation of the IT band and adjacent tissues.

Remember that if you injure your IT band, it might take time for it to heal. With that in mind, you should learn how to best prevent IT band syndrome. Here are some best practices to prevent this type of injury:

Do not skip warm up
When you begin any exercise or sport, you should always perform warm up no matter how pressed you are with time. Experts recommend that you do at least five to ten minutes of low to moderate activity before engaging in more strenuous tasks.

Consider replacing your running shoes regularly
Do not wait for your shoes to be damaged before replacing it. According to experts, you should replace your running shoes regularly. On average, you should replace it every 300 to 500 miles or every 3 to 4 months of use.

If you continue using your worn out shoes, it will have lesser shock absorption thereby increasing the risk of IT band pain. If you want, you can alternate between two pairs of running shoes. This will allow the shock-absorbing cushion of each pair to return to its optimal form before you use them again.

Do not train on uneven surfaces
It is unavoidable to run or hike downhill but this circumstance will increase the friction on your IT band. Aside from the IT band, running or hiking downhill is also tough on your quadriceps. When the quadriceps fatigue, their ability to stabilise and control the knee tracking position will decrease thereby increasing the stress on the IT band.

Refrain from doing too much too soon
It is normal if you want to challenge yourself and increase your stamina but it is crucial that you add distance and mileage gradually. If you push your body too hard, it will hurt you in the long run.

Experts recommend that you follow the 10% rule. This will set a limit on increasing your weekly training. Simply put, you should only increase your activity to no more than 10% per week – this includes intensity, distance, and duration of your exercise. If you do it this way, you are allowing the body to adjust gradually.

Moving forward
When you feel sharp or burning pain above the outer part of your knee, it is best to consult the doctor immediately. For more information, you should visit https://nydnrehab.com/what-we-treat/knee-pain/it-band-syndrome-treatment/ immediately. Your physiotherapist will examine you first and determine the root cause of the problem before laying out the treatment plans.