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Thursday, July 19, 2012

3 Myths About IT Band Syndrome

If you're a runner or athlete with lateral knee pain, you might want to stop listening to the myths about IT Band Syndrome and start learning about the real reasons why you're in pain and how to cure it once and for all!
Myth #1:
IT Band Syndrome is caused by inflammation (tendonitis) of the Iliotibial Band (ITB).
False! Recent studies have shown that the IT Band itself is not to blame for lateral knee pain, but rather a highly innervated pad of adipose (fatty) tissue that rests under the ITB, just above the knee joint. (We'll talk about the best way to prevent inflammation and pain in this tissue later in this article..)
Myth #2
IT Band Syndrome is the result of a tight ITB that rubs over lateral epichondyle of the femur (for those of you who skipped med school, that's the knobby part on the end of your thigh bone), and the only way to cure it is to rest and stretch out the tight tendon or get expensive massages.
False again! You can rest and then stretch out your IT Band like pizza dough all you want, but you'll only get temporary relief. In fact, resting is only going to result in your muscles further weakening and stretching already weak muscles isn't going to address your structural weaknesses that are the root cause.  (Keep reading to learn the secret to curing IT band syndrome for good!)
Myth #3
I don't need strength training, I'm a runner. I just need to run more often if I want to improve my performance and prevent and cure my IT band.
Wrong! This is probably the most harmful of all of the ITBS myths. Recent scientific studies have shown that ITBS is actually the result of poor running mechanics, NOT a lack of leg strength or flexibility. The truth about IT Band Syndrome is that strong core muscles, specifically those of the hips, will allow you to achieve proper running alignment and cure your IT Band Syndrome, as well as improve your running performance. (Time to start working those glutes!)
In fact, your IT band syndrome is what results from repeatedly doing a very limited range of motion over and over again, namely running!  Running weakens all the core muscles surrounding your legs and hips because it just involves one back-and-forth motion in a fixed dimension.  Without any lateral side-to-side movement, the core muscles that work to stabilize your trunk literally get weaker with each mile…  So your poor, overly taxed IT band bears the brunt of trying to do the stabilization that a combination of your core muscles should be doing instead.
If you want to learn the fastest, easiest way to improve core strength, attain a safer running alignment and bring your performance to a higher level, check out my book, Pilates 4 Runners.  In it you'll find a unique training program utilizing easy-to-follow Pilates strengthening techniques.  They are designed to provide you with the stability and power you need to run faster and totally pain-free, without setting foot in a gym or buying expensive equipment you'll never use.

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