Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The iliotibial band, also known as the IT band, is a fibrous band that connects the pelvis to the tibia and knee fascia.

The symptom of iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is pain in the outer region of the leg from the hip to the knee. Pain may also be experienced at the outer hip or the outer knee or anywhere in between—or throughout the entire length of the IT band.

Dr. Sam Dubé discusses Illiotibial Band Syndrome

Learn about the symptoms, causes, and benefits of different treatment options.

What causes iliotibial band syndrome?

Most iliotibial (IT) band pain results from poor lower limb mechanics, which predispose the IT band to damaging stresses or injury.

Acute functional problems occur when the body is pushed beyond its everyday functional capabilities.

Chronic functional problems occur gradually when everyday activities don’t promote healthy function. Often, there is no pain or discomfort until stress-related tissue damage builds and movement becomes impeded.

In either case, most IT band-related functional problems occur because of poor or maladapted neuromuscular function throughout the feet, legs, and hips.

There is a direct biomechanical relationship between foot function and the way the legs and hips function.

There is a direct neuromuscular and biomechanical relationship between foot function and the way the legs and hips function. Historically, poor foot function, commonly seen as over-pronation (collapsing arches) or over-supination (rigid high arches), has been thought to be hereditary. However, modern science has identified that the nervous system plays a critical role in stabilizing the feet and ankles when walking or running.

From a neuromuscular perspective, the brain relies on the information that it receives from the nerve endings in the soles of the feet to activate healthy muscle function in the feet, legs, hips, and back. Biomechanically, an unstable foot with a poorly functioning arch system  will cause poor bone alignment and imbalanced muscle use throughout the legs and hips. Over time, this maladapted neuromuscular function becomes the norm, creating repetitive strain and stresses throughout, thickening and inflaming the IT band.

It is now understood that conventional footwear use causes poor neuromuscular function throughout the feet, legs, hips, and back, when:

  • the soles of the feet don’t receive the subtle, varied stimulus that the nervous system requires for healthy function, and
  • snug toe boxes, stiff midsoles/outsoles/uppers and tight lacing restrict healthy foot movement.

To learn more about the modern science, click HERE.


Solutions

The best way to prevent and treat IT band problems and pain is to retrain healthy lower limb neuromuscular mechanics, and to use footwear that is soft, flexible, and roomier in the forefoot.

Conventional treatment methods for hip joint pain

Since the late 1890s, the standard treatment for poor foot mechanics that contribute to leg and hip problems has been to artificially support the feet with orthotics. Other conventional IT band treatment options include:

  • Taping/bracing
  • Therapeutic exercise
  • Foam rolling
  • Massage
  • Injections

Modern science has transitioned away from using long-term support and cushioning on any body part because it causes a progressive weakening of the body part being supported or cushioned.

The modern approach to treating hip join pain

Science has shown that merely challenging the body to “do its job” is the best way to restore and enhance function.

The modern approach to address poor neuromuscular function is to employ a “Proper Technique” rehabilitative therapy to regain healthy function. This approach is extensively used pre- and post-surgery and is also the foundation of virtually all sports training/rehabilitation programs. By employing a therapeutic approach, the feet, legs, hips, and back become stronger and more stable, thereby addressing the cause of the poor mechanics that contribute to IT band problems and pain. Proper Technique therapies employ exercise that focuses on safely training healthy neuromuscular function, i.e., optimal mobility, muscle strength, stability, and alignment.

Proper Technique therapies require both Right Stimulus and Right Movement.

Right Stimulus occurs when the information that the brain receives from the senses triggers an efficient protective reflex function or Right Movement. The nerve endings in the soles of the feet play a critical role in providing the brain with the information required for optimal Right Movement throughout the feet, legs, hips, and back. When the brain receives insufficient or inaccurate information from the soles of the feet, the protective reflex function Right Movement will be ineffective or absent altogether. This is what happens when conventional footwear is worn. For more information on Right Stimulus and Right Movement, click here.

To therapeutically address the cause of IT band problems and pain and to prevent them from reoccurring, do the following:

  • Walk barefoot on natural terrain as much as possible. This provides the optimal Right Stimulus and allows for the Right Movement required for healthy neuromuscular function.
  • Use BioPods® Stimsoles® in loosely laced, soft, flexible footwear with ample toe room that allows your arches and toes to rise easily for best results. BioPods Stimsoles provide the Right Stimulus in your conventional footwear.
  • Consult with your healthcare practitioner to ask about employing soft tissue mobilization therapies to address the fibrotic scar tissue that may have formed prior to using BioPods.

For more information on what to expect when using BioPods Stimsoles, click HERE.

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BioPods® Stimsoles® help rehabilitate the poor foot mechanics that contribute to IT band problems and pain. We guarantee it, unconditionally.

When Stimsoles are used in your shoes, they create a healthy stimulus experience, which helps address the cause of IT band problems and the related pain. When used regularly, they provide the subtle, varied stimulus that your body needs for healthy function, to enhance your performance capabilities, and to reduce your risk of injury.

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BioPods® Technology

BioPods create a comfortable “springy” sensation under your arches, which provides your brain with the information required for optimal muscle activity in your lower limbs and back. BioPods Stimsoles are safe and easy to use and gradually help your feet, legs, hips, and back naturally regain and maintain healthy function.

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