Often in prolonged running, individuals begin to develop pain in the side of the thigh and into the outside portion of the knee. You could be suffering from something known as Illiotibial (IT) band syndrome. Today’s topic will cover the ins and outs of this stubborn overuse injury and what Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine can do to help you get back to an active lifestyle.
What is Illiotibial (IT) band syndrome?
IT band syndrome is a type of injury that involves a thick band of tissue on the outer portion of the leg, which helps aid in supporting the hip and knee joints. Repetitive overuse of this tissue occurs in athletes and runners who begin to over strengthen or overdevelop this tissue causing it to become tight and stiff through the thigh. Each movement when we run or walk creates tension in the IT band as it rubs against our thighbone. This is commonly seen in runners and cyclists or anyone involved with repetitive aerobic activity. Symptoms of IT band syndrome include pain with a snapping sensation on the lateral (outside) portion of the hip, thigh, and knee. As the IT band develops tension, this can cause pain. Pain will slowly decrease as the hip and knee are relaxed or at rest.
IT band syndrome is caused by chronic repetitive overuse, which can cause adhesions and scar tissue to develop, which can thicken and cause pain during activity. This tightness can lead to pain, limited range of motion and in more serious injuries an audible “snap” can be heard and/or felt during movements. Physical examination as well as a thorough history helps to aid in the diagnosis of IT band syndrome. Iliotibial band syndrome is most prevalent in athletes whose activities consist of running, swimming, and cycling.
Typically this injury does very well with conservative treatment options that aim to break up scar tissue and balance the strength of the muscles in the thigh. Activity modification and cross training is a key component in reducing pain and limiting deconditioning of the athlete.
If an individual that is suffering from IT band syndrome does not respond to conservative treatments, injection based prolotherapy may be an option. When chronic long-term cases of IT band syndrome are left unaddressed, non-surgical solutions may be incorporated to help break up scar tissue and adhesion formation. Prolotherapy is a regenerative medicine option that helps to aid in breaking up adhesions in the IT band.
For stubborn chronic cases of IT band syndrome, that fail to respond to conservative treatments, prolotherapy is a state of the art regenerative medicine option for patients seeking solutions to pain. Supported by the Mayo clinic, prolotherapy has been demonstrated to be a non-pharmaceutical option to reduce pain and break up adhesions in the IT band. Prolotherapy involves injections of a dextrose solution or other non-pharmacological substances into the injured site. The injection helps to allow for distension of the tissue, which helps break up the most stubborn scar tissue. This will allow for a more stable and flexible IT band. At Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine, we believe that prolotherapy injections can be a major component in regenerative medicine approaches towards the bodies’ natural ability to heal itself.
Regenerative medicine and prolotherapy have been proven as a safe and effective treatment option for someone suffering from Illiotibial (IT) band syndrome. If you find yourself struggling with this type of thigh injury please feel free to contact one of our patient care coordinators at 908-754-1960 or you may contact us online.
About the Authors:
Joseph Mejia D.O., F.A.A.P.M.& R, is a graduate of University of Michigan and West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. He is Board Certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine. Dr. Mejia received his Fellowship Training in Interventional Pain Management from University of Medicine and Dentistry. He has advanced training in Regenerative Medicine and is the Medical Director and Partner of Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine.
Vincent J. Diana D.C. is a graduate of New York Chiropractic College. He is a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician with licenses held in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Dr. Diana is a Chiropractic Physician at Performance Rehabilitation & Regenerative Medicine.