How do you relieve pain from IT band?

You can relieve your IT band pain through a combination of activity modification, anti-inflammatories and icing. Most of those with IT band pain are runners, so changing your shoes if you have over 500 miles on them, and decreasing your mileage should help. If those measures still aren’t giving you any relief, then a supervised course of physical therapy will help improve your biomechanics and should offer long term relief. Physical therapy should be focused on stretching of the iliotibial band, lateral fascia and gluteal muscles, deep massage, abductor strengthening, and proprioception. I frequently like to give my patients in Colorado Springs a steroid injection before starting them on PT. The combination of PT and a steroid injection can often work wonders to get rid of IT band pain. Surgery for IT band pain is extremely rare.

What does IT band pain feel like?

IT band pain, normally feels like pain on the outside part of your leg, just above your knee. It is usually worse with running and other endurance sports. This is commonly referred to as iliotibial band friction syndrome. The other way your IT band can cause pain is when it rubs on the outside of your hip and causes hip bursitis. Hip bursitis is pain on the outside of your hip that is worse with walking for a long time, or on uneven surfaces. Most of the time when someone says their IT band hurts, they are referring to the pain on the outside part of their leg just above the knee.

What causes IT band pain?

The IT band (also known as the iliotibial band) is a thick band of connective tissue that goes all the way from the outside of your hip down to the outside of your shin. There is a muscle that attaches to the IT band on the front part of the hip called the tensor fascia lata. IT band pain is normally caused by the IT band rubbing against the lateral femoral condyle of your knee. If you do endurance sports, all of this rubbing causes inflammation and inflames the underlying bursa sac (also known as the iliotibial band bursa). When the bursa sac gets inflamed, it causes bursitis and pain.

Is heat or ice better for IT band pain?

Ice is better for IT band pain. The main cause of IT band pain is an inflamed bursa between the IT band and the underlying bone that it is rubbing on (lateral femoral condyle). Ice will act to decrease the blood flow and resulting inflammation to that area. Heat will do the opposite. As a rule of thumb, heat is better for muscles, and ice is better for joints and inflamed bursae. 

I hope I was able to answer some of your questions about relieving IT band pain. If you would like me to treat your It band pain, contact us below to make an appointment if you are in the Colorado Springs area. I also am available for virtual consults.

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(719) 203 7552

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