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Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)
Marked by a sharp, burning, knee or hip pain, ITBS is a very common running injury among marathoners. Indeed, it's responsible for as many as 80% of all overuse pains on marathon day. The ITB is a ligament that runs along the outside of the thigh, from the top of the hip to the outside of the knee. It stabilizes the knee and hip during running, but when it thickens and rubs over the bone, the area can become inflamed or the band itself may become irritated, causing pain. It may be caused by running on banked surfaces that causes the downhill leg to bend slightly inward and stretches the band, inadequate warm-up or cool-down, running excessive distances, increasing mileage too quickly, or certain physical abnormalities.

While pain can be acute to quite painful, the iliotibial band can be rested, iced, compressed and elevated (RICE) to reduce pain and inflammation, followed by stretching. Using a foam roller to loosen the iliotibial band can help prevent and treat pain although the treatment itself can be very painful to some. Also, an ultra sound machine can be used around the area to relax it, followed by a machine that utilizes electrode stimulation to the area to further relax it. This can result in more comfort and/or a wider range of motion. Consulting with a doctor or referring to a registered physiotherapist or athletic therapist would be the best solutions. Custom foot orthotics may treat this condition by controlling the amount of inversion (medial rotation) of the foot and thus reducing rotation of the leg and knee (which creates friction of the iliotibial band against the outside of the knee). In severe cases where a conservative approach has failed, surgery can be a good option.


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