Tag, Your IT Band! Tips for Keeping Yours Pain Free

Maybe you’ve heard of the IT band when a favorite pro athlete has to take some time off, or maybe you haven’t heard of it until yours hurts and now you have to learn about it (the hard way). We tell you what your IT band is, and what to do if yours is giving you problems (as well as ways to help prevent those)…

The IT Band – Your Favorite Band

Okay, so maybe you can’t buy tickets, but it should be your favorite band. Without your IT band, walking, running, and even standing would be pretty hard – if not impossible. Your iliotibial (IT for short) band is a thick connective band that runs all the way from your hip down to the outside of your knee. It connects to various important points in your hip and glutes, as well as your knee to keep you moving and flexible.

When Your IT Band Isn’t Performing

Frequently, when you hear someone complaining about their IT band they likely are dealing with a tight IT band. If you’re the person complaining, a tight IT band occurs from irritation to the tissue – it is often seen in those who engage in repetitive activities like runners or cyclists. A tight IT band often manifests as pain felt at the outside of the knee and is noticed when the knee bends or when the motion causing the aggravation is present. Depending on the level of irritation, you may have swelling around your knee as well. Pain, swelling, even popping or clicking in the knee are all signs your IT band is irritated. Your provider will assess you during an exam to determine if your IT band is to blame or if you have a different injury.

Treatment/Prevention to Keep the Band on the Road

Depending on how painful and limiting your IT band irritation is, you may need to take time off from any sports or fitness activities that may exacerbate the issue. Ice can help with pain and swelling, so apply ice where you most feel discomfort. Stretching the IT band is a good treatment and preventive move. To properly stretch your IT band, put the foot of the affected leg behind the other and lean to the non-affected side, until you feel a gentle stretch in the hip-area of the affected leg. Stretch both the affected and non-affected side. Seeking the care of a physical therapist can ensure that you’ll address both the issue and the cause of your IT band pain. A qualified PT can examine your IT band as well as any contributing factors; s/he will create a recovery plan to speed healing and reduce the risk of future IT band problems.

If you’re suffering from knee pain (or other pain), Body One Physical Therapy wants to help you heal. Our team of highly-trained, compassionate physical therapists works with clients from all over; we see patients at all ages and activity levels and would love to help get you moving toward your goals. We’re locally-owned with four locations serving Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Call Body One today!