runner's leg

Runner’s Knee: An Overview
Iliotibial Band Syndrome: Treatment Options

What is Runner’s Knee?

Runner’s knee is a common condition among runners and other athletes who do activities that require repetitive bending of the knee. These include football players, basketball players, ballet dancers, and even walkers. 

Runner’s knee is also known as iliotibial band syndrome and ITB friction syndrome. Iliotibial band syndrome is mainly an irritation to the band that connects the iliac crest (hip) to the tibia (shin). A patient suffering from this condition may feel a sharp pain to the knee or the hip after an intense training session.

The iliotibial bands may get irritated if they are tight. Tight ITBs will cause friction when rubbing against the outer portion of the knee, which will result in pain that may only be troublesome when you are about a couple of miles into your activity. A bony projection on the outer portion of your knee and/or a greater trochanter of the hip may contribute to runner’s knee if your iliotibial bands are tight.

There are a number of factors that could cause iliotibial band syndrome; two of them are biochemical abnormality and training error. Most patients state that the pain started after a sudden increase of activity intensity. Some describe pain after running downhill. Runners and other athletes usually have biomechanical issues (i.e., iliotibial band tightness and/or gluteal weakness). When running downhill, the knee angle at footstrike (when the foot hits the ground) is reduced, thus the symptoms occur. Running on an even terrain is less likely to cause runner’s knee, as the knee flexion when the foot hits the ground is not as limited as compared to when running downhill.

runner's knee
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Here are the instructions for the simple stretching to alleviate the pain caused by runners knee.

  1. Lie flat on your back.
  2. Raise your left knee up to your left shoulder and push it over to your right shoulder using your palm.
  3. Hold position for about twenty seconds.
  4. Repeat five times.
  5. Follow the same instruction for your right knee.

You can do this stretching three times a day or more. This can also be a part of your pre-exercise routine. You will see improvement in your condition in a week’s time with regular stretching. Whether you naturally have abnormally tight iliotibial bands or they got stiffened by running, regular stretching is recommended for faster improvement of your condition. The more you do this, the better.

Taking an oral anti-inflammatory and placing ice on the affected area can also help alleviate the pain. 

We regularly treat people with runner’s knee at our chiropractic clinics in Chester and in North Wales.

For more stretches and treatment options, if you do not get better, see part 2 of this article.

Runner’s Knee: An Overview
Iliotibial Band Syndrome: Treatment Options

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