Since the beginning of the pandemic, people are choosing to exercise differently and more conveniently. Whether it’s weight training at home or picking up some sneakers and going for walks or even running!
Many aches and pain may arise of starting a new routine, such as prolong walking or running. Some people may have also enjoyed outdoor trail walking. Today, we want to focus on specific knee pain described as Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS).
After consulting a literature review regarding ITBS in runners, we thought it would be fitting for us to discuss possible contributing factors of ITBS. Truthfully, you do not have to be an avid runner to develop this type of pain. We have seen these types of complaints in patients who are frequent long-distance walkers and hikers as well.
What Does the ITBS Look Like?
- Pain on the outside part of the knee
- Often described as sharp
- It is usually localized and you are able to touch it
- Often worse with running or weight bearing exercises such as prolong walking, use of stairs or hiking
- This pain often comes on quickly and consistently. Some patients will mention that it appears at a certain length of time or distance when walking or running
- This pain can be accompanied of tension or pain along the outside of the thigh all the way to the hip
Possible Contributing Factors of ITBS
- Mechanical factors: specific muscle tightness (shortening of the muscle) or weakness and fatigue may be contributing factors. In another sphere, the position and knee alignment during weight bearing may also contribute to this type of pain.
- Loading factors: have you been increasing your distance progressively? Perhaps you have done too much too soon? The body needs to adapt to a new exercise and a proper running or walking regiment may be key to avoid this type of pain.
- Environmental factors: are you using the proper shoe that corresponds well to your body? For example, if you pronate your foot excessively during weight bearing, maybe you need a shoe with better support to improve this mechanical loading? Maybe you are running on an uneven terrain or are going downhill too often and your body has not yet adapted to this type of terrain?
The literature is not necessarily conclusive on exactly what may be contributing to ITBS. However, clinically, from our point of you, we believe that everyone should be assessed from head to toe. There is a combination of possible contributing factors and running or walking with knee pain is not something that you need to live with!
What Would Your Assessment Look Like in Physiotherapy
Every injury or pain is unique for each individual and like any other reason to consult, everyone requires a detailed assessment. A qualified health care practitioner should be looking at all aspects. For knee pain, this would include details on your running regime, your history of low back pain and previous injuries, your exercise history, the type of shoe you are wearing, how are you loading through your lower extremities when running. They will also check for areas where muscles may be shortened (tight) or weak. They may also look at some areas of your body where your joints are not moving as efficiently as they should. This could be coming from your back or even a stiff ankle following a sprain.
If you are experiencing knee pain with certain activities or plan on starting a new exercise regime, please don’t hesitate to contact Moveo Sports and Manual Physiotherapy. We are here to help you achieve your personal goals safely and injury free!