Causes of Iliotibial Band Pain and Remedies

IT Band pain is felt on the side of the thigh and may extend from the hip to the knee. Sometimes it feels closer to the knee and at other times closer to the hip. Touching the area is generally painful. Moving about and standing become difficult as the pain can be debilitating.

Causes of Iliotibial Band Pain

Sometimes where it is it isn’t. That means that a number of different causes exist for IT Band pain some of them relate to the TFL (tensor fascia lata) muscle just above the hip joint, but many times it doesn’t. If you have tried working that muscle and you get some relief, but the pain keeps coming back, then you need to explore elsewhere. Pain in the IT Band can come from as far away as the shoulder blade and as near as the quadriceps muscles. Some say you should use a foam roller to loosen the IT Band; however, doing so will lengthen the fascia, but not release the pull. In other words, you will feel relief until the muscle causing the problem readjusts and takes up the slack. You must find the cause; and just because you feel a pain in a particular area doesn’t mean that the cause is there.

Simple Remedy

A common cause of IT Band pain is a tight quadriceps muscle as it limits the function of the TFL. So a simple stretch of the quads may provide relief. (See stretch above). Another muscle that can cause entrapment is the pectineus muscle. This is a short muscle just at the crease of the thigh at the hip. If you feel in there you will feel a tender spot. To stretch this muscle, sit and cross the ailing leg at the ankle over the other knee and push the knee down slowly until you feel a gentle stretch, hold it for about two seconds, relax, then repeat several times until the stretch seems to disappear. Touch the IT Band and see if it has had the desired effect. Another muscle that will cause pain in this area is the tibialis anterior; this is the muscle just below the knee and to the side of the tibia (shin bone). If this is the case you will only feel pain in the lower part of the IT Band closest to the knee. (See remedy above for knee).

In some cases, the issue may be coming from further away and it may be best to employ the services of a good massage therapist to work your subscapularis muscle, which is the muscle under the scapula. If this is the case, the culprit will be the scapula on the shoulder opposite the offending IT Band. You may try loosening it by dropping your arm with the thumb forward and then rotating outwards and inwards to loosen the muscles of the scapula. Again do it slowly, hold for a second or two, release and repeat. Check and see if that works.

Long Term Remedy

Stretch regularly. If you must do repetitive tasks take time to undo them. If you are a right handed hitter, take some time to practice hitting left handed as that will help to balance your body. You don’t have to hit that way, you just have to unwind.

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Last updated on October 17, 2013