The Iliotibial Band, ITB, is a thick band of connective tissue running from the hip to the outside of the knee. Runner’s Knee Pain, refers to pain in the ITB or outside (lateral) knee. This pain is classed as a ‘friction injury’ and most commonly presents in runners.
When the ITB rubs on a bony protrusion, known as the Lateral Epicondyle, it can cause pain and irritation. This pain is often felt in runners who compete in distances of greater than 5km. When training in a longer, slower run, this pain can present more intensely than in sprint sessions.
When running at a decreased pace, the hip can ‘dip’ out ,while the weight is still on that leg. When sprinting the arms and knees are pumping forward and back. The hips are going to stay more squarely, allowing less lateral movement. The hip stabilising muscles are contracting much more strongly when sprinting.
Lateral knee pain is normally a sign that the lateral stabilisers, or Gluteus Medius muscles, in the hips are not functionally properly. There can be some weakness, or an imbalance, including too much tightness in the hip flexors or TFL muscles, causing these muscles to decrease in stability.
Myotherapy treatment involves releasing the muscular tensions causing imbalance and educating on strengthening techniques to prevent re-injury. If runners present with pain on long runs, doing sprint sessions and weights with an Exercise Physiologist will work complementary to Myotherapy. These session will prevent the hip stabiliser muscles from fatiguing as quickly in lateral movement. Athletes will be able to run pain free and continue training while the pathology settles down.