A Runner’s Curse

As the days are getting longer and warmer, more and more people are beginning or ending their day with a jog. However, with increasing your physical activity levels, the number of aches and pains may increase as well.

A common overuse injury that runners experience is Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome (ITBFS).

The Iliotibial Band (ITB) is a long piece of connective tissue that runs down the outside of your thigh and attaches just below your knee joint.

As you run, the ITB rubs back and forwards against the outside part of your knee as your foot strikes the ground. This produces inflammation and a very painful sensation.

The lower the degree of knee bend that you get while you run, the more likely the ITB will rub against the knee joint as the ITB is stretched further. As a result, sprinters are less likely to experience ITBFS than joggers will.

This injury typically occurs due to the lower leg rolling in and this may be caused by worn out shoes, running downhill, poor running surfaces or not enough support in your running shoes if you have a flatter foot arch.

ITBFS presents as an ache over the outside of the knee joint that worsens with running and is usually exacerbated with longer runs or with a large proportion of downhill running.

So how can manual therapy help?

A combination of massage techniques to the leg, hip and lower back areas will ease the pressure on the ITB, mobilisation of your lower back and pelvis to make sure there are no restricted joints placing excess pressure on the ITB and even using Extracorpeal Shockwave Therapy to help restore the elasticity to the damaged tissues. 

We will also discuss possible changes to your running technique and assess your footwear to make sure you have the correct runners for your foot type.

Manual therapy and a prescribed stretching and strengthening regime will decrease the pain and allow you to return to your running program in time for summer.