Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome is a frictional overuse injury causing pain on the outer knee and hip; affecting beginners and seasoned runners alike. So before hitting the streets, newly inspired by this past weekend’s Comrades marathon, follow these quick tips to help prevent the onset of ITB syndrome:

1) Change is good, but too much change can be a shock to the system
. Follow the 10% Rule by only increasing your mileage or time on the road by 10% each week to allow your body time to adjust to the demands of running.

2) Mind your step.
 If running on surfaces that are flat and relatively straight is not possible, try changing the side of road or the direction in which you run on the track. This way you ensure you counterbalance the uneven forces on your legs affected by the camber of the road or bends in the track.

3) Life’s not all downhill, and nor should your running be.
 Gradually increase your hill running as your conditioning improves to avoid placing high loads of fatigued quads.

4) Don’t grow too attached to your footwear.
 As sad as it may be to part with your favourite pair of takkies, after 500-800km, the shock absorbing and supportive ability of shoes is lost & continuing to wear worn out shoes will do more harm than good.

5) Get your beauty sleep.
 While it may not turn you into a supermodel overnight, getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night will give your body the time it needs to recover and build strength. Increase that by an additional hour if you are training intensely or recovering from an injury.

6) Deal with muscle tension. As uncomfortable as it may be to foam roll, rather suffer a few minutes of pain than have to endure the days/weeks/months of ITB discomfort. Regular foam rolling and sports massage are the most effective ways to release a tight ITB, and should be a part of your training schedule.

Contact your medical professional should you suffer from persistent or recurrent ITB pain that does not respond to conservative at-home care.

Dr Lauren Dwyer
(M.Tech: Chiro)

Flux Functional Training Facility 
Lincoln on the Lake, 2 High Street
Parkside Umhlanga Ridge 4320
083 501 4897

Lauren Dwyer is associated with Bruce Grant. MEG’s preferred Chriopractors.

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