Common Injuries: IT Band Friction Syndrome

**Editor's Note: This post continues a new blog series for us on the theme of common injuries. We know this is a huge concern for many runners and walkers, so we're enlisting the experts to enlighten us! 

IT Band Friction Syndrome is a common overuse injury that occurs when the IT band becomes very tight and creates excessive friction over the outside of the hip or the outside of the knee. With continued running or cycling, the repetitive friction creates irritation, inflammation and ultimately pain.

IT Band

As your training distances increase, your risk of developing Iliotibial Band Syndrome increases. Other factors include running hill routes, surfaces with significant camber (slanted), and random changes in shoe make/model. Runners with excessive knee hyperextension, knee varus (bow-legged) or valgus (knocked-knees) are also predisposed to IT Band Syndrome.

Recommendations to Avoid Injury:

1. Proper biomechanical assessment and shoe selection.

2. Proper training program and progressions.

3. Stretching - make sure you are warmed up before stretching.

4. Strengthening - proper stability throughout the kinematic chain is required to tolerate impact.

5. Technique - foot impact and cadence

Injury Prevention Activities: IT Band Friction Syndrome

Foam Roller - IT Band

IT Band

Lie on your side, with your hip resting on the foam roller and your upper leg crossed in front as shown in the photo. Slowly roll the side of your leg up and down the foam roll from your knee to your hip. Perform 20 times.

Foam Roller - Glute/Piriformis

IT Band

Sit on the foam roller with your weight shifted to one side your ankle resting over the opposite knee. Slowly roll the foam roller up and down your glute region. Perform 20 times.

Stretching - Hip Flexor

IT Band

Begin in a lunge position with the leg to be stretched behind your body. Keep your back upright and squeeze your glutes, shifting your weight forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your hip. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 times on each leg.

Stretching - Glut/Piriformis

IT Band

Lay on your back and cross the ankle of the side you want to stretch over the opposite knee. Lift that knee toward your chest and hold your thigh with your hands. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 times on each leg.

Author Bio: Todd J Cruz PT, MS, Director: Northwest Portland Physical Therapy

Todd is a 1992 graduate from Oregon State University (Go Beavs!) and went on to earn a Masters of Physical Therapy degree in 1995 at the Mayo School of Health-Related Sciences in Rochester, MN. He started practicing out-patient orthopedic physical therapy with Therapeutic Associates in 1995 with an emphasis on spine care using exercise and manual therapy techniques. In 1999, Todd became Director of NW Portland Physical Therapy, and while continuing with spine and general orthopedic care, his practice increased emphasis on working with local high school and recreational athletes. Todd has worked with cyclists and triathletes since 1996, performing bike fitting to improve their comfort/efficiency/power on the bike. 


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