How to Treat Painful IT Band Syndrome

How to Treat Painful IT Band Syndrome

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IT Band Syndrome (ITBS) is one of the most common causes of leg and knee pain in athletes, especially runners. Unfortunately, it’s the kind of injury that really requires proactive treatment in order to really heal. Here are four important factors of an aggressive and proactive treatment plan to help your IT Band Syndrome heal for good.
Stop Running
As mentioned earlier, running is one of the common causes for ITBS. So if running was the cause of yours, stop doing it. Now that doesn’t mean you need to stop exercise altogether. You can cross-train via swimming or biking, as long as neither activites causes any pain.
Focus on Reducing Inflammation
During the early stage of this injury, it’s really important to rest and ice your IT band. This, plus taking over the counter anti-inflammatory medication can aid in reducing pain and inflammation. Once it starts to go down, you should be able to regain some mobility in your knee, which is an important step in your recovery. A popular ice application method for the IT band is to try an ice massage. Fill a small dixie cup with water, and store it in the freezer. When you’re ready to apply the ice massage, tear off a small line from the top so that the ice sticks out over the edge of the cup. Apply directly to your IT band for 10 minutes at a time, moving constantly to avoid burn or frostbite.
Incorporate Consistent Massages & Stretching
Once you get to a point that you are able to touch your IT band with pressure and it isn’t excruciating, massaging the area is the next step. You can visit a massage therapist, or you can do this on your own with a foam roller for self-massage. If using a foam roller, focus on rolling up and down the outside of your legt, from your knee to your hip. Incorporating leg stretches along with massage is a great way to loosen your IT band and help prepare it for strengthening.
Strengthening
One you get to a point where you can perform strengthening exercises without experiencing any pain, it’s time to incorporate a strengthening routine. We highly recommend working with a physical therapist or health care professional that can guide your treatment process via monitored exercises. This will help ensure you don’t put yourself at risk for re-injury.

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