Iliotibial Band Syndrome: How Chiropractic Can Help Runners and Cyclists

If you’re a runner or cyclist, you may be familiar with the pain and discomfort that comes with iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). This common overuse injury affects the iliotibial band, a thick strip of tissue that runs from the hip to the knee on the outside of the thigh. 

When the IT band becomes tight or inflamed, it can cause pain and swelling on the outside of the knee, making it difficult to run or cycle without discomfort. So, if you’re dealing with ITBS, you may want to consider chiropractic care — a non-invasive and holistic approach to your pain and discomfort. 

Below, we take a closer look at how chiropractic can benefit runners and cyclists with iliotibial band syndrome. What should you know?

What Causes Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

ITBS is often caused by repetitive friction of the IT band rubbing against the bony prominence on the outside of the knee. This friction can be exacerbated by factors such as:

  • Overuse or sudden increase in training intensity
  • Weak hip abductor muscles
  • Tight muscles in the hip, thigh, or calf
  • Improper footwear or bike fit
  • Running on uneven or banked surfaces

Symptoms of ITBS typically include pain or burning sensation on the outside of the knee, which may radiate up or down the leg. The pain often worsens with activity, such as running, walking, or cycling, and may be accompanied by swelling or tenderness to the touch.

How Can Chiropractic Care Help?

For runners and cyclists with ITBS, chiropractic can offer several benefits, including: 

  • Reduced pain: Chiropractors use various techniques, such as soft tissue therapy, active release technique (ART), and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM), to reduce tension in the IT band and surrounding muscles. This can help alleviate pain and improve flexibility.
  • Joint mobilization: Gentle manipulations to the hip, knee, and ankle joints can help improve mobility, reduce strain on the IT band, and promote proper alignment.
  • Gait analysis: Chiropractors can perform a gait analysis to identify any biomechanical issues or imbalances that may be contributing to your ITBS. They can then provide recommendations for corrective exercises, orthotics, or footwear modifications to optimize your running or cycling form.
  • Education and prevention: Your chiropractor will educate you on proper warmup and cool-down techniques and other self-care measures to prevent future flare-ups of ITBS. They may also provide guidance on gradually increasing training intensity and allowing adequate recovery time between workouts.

Overall, chiropractic care can be a valuable complement to other conservative treatments for ITBS, such as rest, ice, and physical therapy. In some cases, chiropractic may even help runners and cyclists avoid more invasive treatments like corticosteroid injections or surgery.

When seeking chiropractic care for ITBS, it’s important to choose a practitioner who has experience working with athletes and understands the unique demands of running and cycling. With your local Noblesville chiropractor at Anchor Health Chiropractic, you know you’re in good hands. Contact our clinic today to book your appointment and learn how chiropractic care can help you overcome ITBS and reach your full potential.

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