Each day you like to go out and run a couple of miles on your local, neighborhood trails. For the most part, this has always been a relatively easy task, until recently. Now when you run, your hips hurt. And what’s worse is that even after you rest, they continue to hurt. If you’re a runner and have ever had nasty hip pain, odds are it had something to do with your IT bands. But running isn’t the only thing that can cause IT bands to become tight and painful. In fact, you can do nothing to them, and they still may decided to cause you pain. So what are IT bands, what can you do about them, and why do they cause so many problems, especially for women?
That’s right, you don’t have to do any harm to your body for your IT bands to start hurting. Many women, in fact, deal with some level of IT band pain in their hips and legs during their lifetime.
IT bands are the iliotibial band of soft tissue, in this case the ligament that runs from the top of the hip bone, down the outside of your thigh, and connects next to your kneecap. This ligament provides stabilization for your leg as you walk. As the ligament tightens, it can put excess compression on the hip joint and it can pull the kneecap out of place. This can lead to a variety of different conditions and types of pain. Your doctor can best diagnosis exactly what the problem is; however, all the different conditions tend to have similar treatment options.
When your hips or knees hurt, it’s important to have a medical evaluation done and to start treatment in order to not only relieve symptoms, but also help prevent any further problems from developing. The number one treatment option for problems caused by tight IT bands is physical therapy. The mantra “Lengthen and Strengthen” often used in physical therapy couldn’t be more true for IT band problems. The main goal a physical therapist has when confronted with tight IT bands is to first help stretch the ligament so that it relieves the pressure and then strengthen the surrounding muscles to provide the stabilization that the IT band is attempting to give. While physical therapy can relieve your pain, it won’t be a permanent fix unless you continue your stretches and strengthening exercises long past your discharge date.
Women tend to have more problems with IT bands than men, with the exception of regular runners, due to the physiological changes that women undergo during puberty. During puberty, a woman’s hips widen, changing how the IT band is positioned in the leg and increasing the pull on the ligament. While you can’t stop this from happening, starting a foam rolling regimen on your IT bands early can definitely help in the long run.
Here at Progressive Health and Rehab, we provide physical therapy services for a wide array of pain problems. We can help you to gain control of your IT bands and to relieve the pain that has been plaguing you. Contact our office to schedule your physical therapy appointment to get started today!