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How to Prevent Iliotibial Band Syndrome When Running

Spring Running Prehab: Roll Your IT Band

Longer days plus warmer weather equals longer runs, especially if you're training for an endurance race. While you can often feel that your muscles have taken a beating, the IT band, the fascia that lines the outside of your quad, takes a beating too. Often you don't feel how tight the IT band is until it interferes with your knee joint function and you end up with the Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Here are some classic signs.

  • Pain on the outside of knee that increases when running, especially running downhill, and the pain disappears soon after you stop running.
  • Tenderness when you touch the outside of the knee, with signs of inflammation.
  • As the syndrome progresses there may be a sharp stinging pain, or burning on the outside of the knee.

The best way to deal with ITB syndrome is to prevent it before it starts. I find that releasing the ITB with a foam roller is the best and most direct approach. It can be a little uncomfortable (that is an understatement) at first, but if the fascia is super painful you really need to roll it. The video below will teach you how.

Folks with excessive pronation are prone to ITB syndrome, so if you pronate and run, look into getting a pair of orthotics (podiatrist made insoles) or motion control sneakers designed to lessen pronation.

When I talk to folks that have been running for years, they tend to give me unsolicited advice and a lot of them tell me to take care of my knees. So roll those ITBs out, even if you don't have knee pain since a little prehab goes a long way.

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