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IT-Band Injuries

lliotibial band or IT band pain develops along the band of dense connective tissue known as fascia, which runs along the outside of both legs. It attaches to a small, but powerful, muscle called the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL), which is located on the outside of your hip and helps with flexing and inward rotation. The lower end of the IT band attaches just below the knee, on its lateral surface.  When irritated, the IT band can cause a lot of pain and stiffness in the lateral leg and hip, especially when walking, sitting, or moving up and down stairs. 

Irritation of the IT band can be caused by a direct blow to the lateral leg or by tight quadriceps and hamstrings (the muscles on the front and back of leg). The most common cause of IT band irritation is TFL overuse, often seen in athletes such as runners. The TFL generally assists the larger leg muscles in producing movement. But if the other muscles are not doing their job properly, the TFL will start to compensate, causing dysfunction.

In many cases, the TFL is indicating hip flexor (iliopsoas) problems. The iliopsoas is the primary hip flexor muscle, that s responsible for moving the hip forward. Prolonged sitting will contribute to tightness and shortening; in this state, the iliopsoas cannot produce a strong muscle contraction and needs assistance from the TFL.

Because of the extra work the TFL is doing, it overburdens the IT band it is attached to, which will eventually lead to irritation of the IT band itself, causing swelling and pain down the lateral leg. This commonly occurs after exertion of the hip flexors through activities such as running, cycling, or hiking. The swelling not only causes pain, but also causes scar tissue to develop in the irritated tissues as well as in the surrounding musculature.  Scar tissue causes these tissues to become hard, tight and very inflexible.  This lack of flexibility causes even more irritation to the TFL/IT Band because, instead of stretching and moving like they should, they will actually microscopically tear, leading to more swelling and scar tissue formation.  


IT Band Therapy


Massage therapy will release some of the tension and painful trigger points in the TFL, and adhesions and scar tissue in the IT Band itself can be released with Myofascial release .  However, to address the cause of the pain, the dysfunction in the the hip flexor has to be corrected, which I do with P-DTR Therapy.  P-DTR can also eliminate the pain that is associated with this type of injury.

Balance in Motion - IT Band Syndrome
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