Muscle & Fitness
ITBS Injury Fitness Athlete Image Credit: Muscle & Fitness
ITBS Injury Fitness Athlete Image Credit: Muscle & Fitness

Battle The Band

IT band syndrome can hobble strength and endurance athletes. Here’s how to fight back.

Active folks often suffer from iliotibial band syndrome, or ITBS, says John Gallucci Jr., P.T., president and CEO of JAG Physical Therapy in New York. ITBS is an overuse injury that can develop when there is inflammation in the iliotibial (IT) band, a line of thick tissue running from the outside of the hip (aka iliac crest), past the knee, and to the top of the tibia.

WARNING SIGNS “Patients can feel a dull pain, usually outside the knee or hip, that typically gets worse with activity,” says Derek Ochiai, M.D., a sports medicine physician and orthopedic surgeon in Arlington, VA. ITBS can also create pain and swelling outside the knee. “Soreness after a workout usually resolves by 50 to 70% in 24 to 48 hours,” Gallucci says. “IT band syndrome has more prolonged symptoms— the inflammation tends to sit in the tendon, so each time you work out the tendon gets tighter, and you’ll feel the pain or discomfort.”

TREATMENT OPTIONS Rest, stretching, and using a foam roller to loosen up the muscle and fascia may help, and you should see your symptoms resolve in two to three weeks. If your pain lasts for more than seven days, a doctor or physical therapist may use a variety of treatments, including electrical stimulation, heat, cold, cryotherapy, massage, and foam rolling. “If you keep trying to train through the injury, the tendon gets tighter and tighter, and ultimately the tissue ca


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