Myth concerning Iliotibial Band Exercises

For most people suffering from ITB ( iliotibial band ) pain, they know how it can affect their running performance. Sometimes other people resort to knee strap to be worn just to lessen the pain a little. In addition, they also require the service of a physical therapist to have them a good exercise to help them correct a minor leg length discrepancy.

iliotibial band
iliotibial band

The exercise would help them, but if they want a long lasting treatment then they must remember this old gospel song, “Dry Bones”: Skeleton Leg

Your foot bone connected to your ankle bone Your ankle bone connected to your leg bone Your leg bone connected to your knee bone Your knee bone connected to your thigh bone……..

Health and fitness expert believe that the body is a kinetic chain. Modifying one link of the kinetic chain (i.e. body part) will have consequences on other related parts of the body. An example is someone who uses a knee strap and heel lift to alleviate the ITB pain symptoms, but this is just for a short time. The pain will return someday.

Cause of ITB Pain

According to Owen Anderson, Ph.D. a leading exercise physiologist and researcher in training, sports nutrition and injury prevention, the ITB works strangely (attempts to contract while increasing in length) to prevent the thigh from moving inward when the foot is on the ground all through the stance phase of gait. When it does so, the ITB is reclined because some adduction (inward movement of the thigh) must inevitably occur. The ITB is also active, because it needs to limit adduction. That is the reason why the action is eccentric – the ITB is attempting to contract but is stretched out nonetheless.

What connects the rubbing action of the ITB on the femoral projection and this eccentric activity?

If the ITB is weak, it allows greater adduction (inward movement of the thigh) during stance. That stretches the ITB, puts it under greater tension, and presses it down on the femoral projection.” (The bracketed sections are my explanatory notes)

Here is a brief summary of what we have been talking about.

Weakness of the ITB is the main cause of ITB Syndrome (ITBS)

What makes Conventional Treatment a short time treatment?

Conventional treatment of ITBS is composed of stretching exercises and performing hip abduction strengthening exercises, either on a hip machine or lying prone and using ankle weights. It is not that effective in alleviating ITB pain.

Dr. Anderson said: “What we have learned from a couple of decades of scientific research is that strengthening exercises must be specific to a particular movement, in terms of muscle-activation pattern, neural control, joint range of motion, and velocity, in order for that movement to be actually fortified. As many experts have pointed out, the desired goal is to strengthen movements, not individual muscles.”

Effective Treatment of ITBS

So, what is the best exercise to eliminate ITBS?

The “Frankenstein Marching with a Band” exercise developed Karen Ward, an excellent and creative personal trainer in Atlanta. The equipment needs is only a stretch band.



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