Say NO to ITB Pain!


Hey Running Mums! Hope everyone’s going well especially with training loads increasing. Been talking with a lot of inspiring women at the moment who are juggling running goals with family. Shona Stephenson came 9th at The North Face 100k last Sunday and was doing school drop off Monday morning! How cool is that!!

So with kilometers going up for a lot of us we just want to be aware of the potential risk factors that can silently sneak up on us out on the road. We all want to get through the season in one piece, so ITB issues can be one of the scariest things for you as a runner for a couple of reasons: One because it can put you out, but also because there’s almost a shroud of mystery associated with ITB problems, so this week I just want to introduce you to a few facts about ITB and we’ll get into a bit more detail later on.

The first question everyone wants to know is ‘What is ITB pain?’ Well it’s really called Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome. The theory is the thick band of connective tissue on the outside of your leg can get tight and rub on the structures towards the outside of the knee (more on that later). Surprise, surprise it is most commonly found in three groups, cyclists, soldiers and RUNNERS. So that puts us right in the firing line. Some research shows ITB friction syndrome accounting for up to 22% of all lower limb injuries! That’s crazy! So the big question is exactly what to do to prevent it, and if it’s got you already, how do you get rid of it? There are a few keys to be aware of and the first is your running technique. I work a lot with Will Wragg who recently did 50 marathons in 50 days, and one of the things we consistently see in the clinic is endurance athletes with ITB problems who almost always have an increased knee angle on foot strike. So they are often the overstriders. This is commonly also associated with weakness in quads in inner range which can kind of let the knee sink as we weight bear and cause repetitive pressure around the outside of the knee. So to tackle it, you want to start being aware of strength through inner ranges of your quads so you can be more like a coil with your running and less like a flat tyre type of effect, sinking into knees. Technique wise the first thing to address is to shorten your stride slightly and try to land on the mid-foot so you decrease angle and force through the knee.

ITB is complex with strength, technique and release strategy guys. I’ll go through it in detail for you but start with the basics. Check out a quick video on quad strength first and keep an eye out because I will do a full article in the next few weeks.

Until next week guys. Happy running!



Paul Trevethan (Physio)


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