Running is something that everyone has done at some point in their life. It is part of our develop as we grow as children. As we get older running is always part of the sports we play. Later in life some people pick up running as a hobby and their exercise. There are times that running can be in the overuse category which can lead to injuries because of the repetitive nature. One of the most common injuries amongst runners is iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome. This is categorized by discomfort along the outside part of the knee. This happens when the iliotibial band, a thick band of connective tissue that runs from the hip down to the shin, becomes tight and inflamed. This can cause friction between the IT band and the underlying bones, leading to pain, swelling, and even a feeling of tightness in the knee.
One treatment for IT band syndrome that can help protect and reduce discomfort is the use of a brace. Often times the compression of a brace along with special designs can help alleviate pain with running. Long term, someone with IT band syndrome will need to work on strength, mobility and stability to reduce discomfort and return to pain free running but a brace can be adjunct to a return to running plan. In this blog, we will explore why a knee brace can be an effective adjunct treatment for IT band syndrome and how it works to relieve pain and promote healing.
First, let's take a closer look at what causes IT band syndrome. The IT band is an important structure that helps to stabilize the knee during movement, especially during activities like running, walking, and cycling. However, when the IT band becomes tight and inflamed, it can start to rub against the underlying bone, leading to pain and discomfort.
There are many factors that can contribute to the development of IT band syndrome, including:
- Overuse: Running, especially downhill or on uneven surfaces, can put a lot of stress on the IT band, leading to inflammation and pain.
- Muscle imbalances: Weakness or tightness in the muscles around the hip and knee can affect the way the IT band moves, leading to friction and irritation.
- Biomechanical issues: Abnormalities in foot structure, leg length discrepancies, and other issues can alter the way the knee moves, leading to increased stress on the IT band.
So how can a brace help to alleviate the symptoms of IT band syndrome? There are a few different ways that the Zamst RK-1 plus knee brace can work to promote healing and relieve pain:
- Compression: The RK-1 plus knee brace is designed to provide compression around the knee, which can help to reduce swelling and inflammation. This can help to alleviate pain and promote healing of the inflamed tissue. The RK-1 plus knee brace has highly breathable material providing proper compression and a comfortable fit.
- Stabilization: The RK-1 plus knee brace for IT band syndrome is designed to provide support and stability to the knee, which can help to reduce the stress to the outside knee during movement. This can help to prevent further irritation of the inflamed tissue and promote healing.
- Alignment: The elastic spiral lace on the RK-1 plus pulls the lower leg up while the inner unique-shaped film keeps the lower knee joint in proper alignment and relieve stress to the outside of the knee.
It is important to note that not all braces are created equal, and it is important to choose a brace that is specifically designed for IT band syndrome. Some braces may be too bulky or restrictive, which can actually exacerbate the symptoms of IT band syndrome. It is important to choose a brace that is lightweight, breathable, and provides targeted compression and support around the knee.
In addition to wearing a knee brace, there are other steps that runners can take to help alleviate the symptoms of IT band syndrome:
- Rest: Taking a break from running or other high-impact activities can help to reduce the stress on the IT band and promote healing.
- Stretching: Stretching the muscles around the hip and knee can help to improve flexibility and reduce tension on the IT band.
- Strengthening: Strengthening the muscles around the hip and knee can help to improve stability and reduce the risk of further injury.
- Cross-training: Incorporating low-impact activities like swimming, cycling, or yoga can help to maintain cardiovascular fitness while giving the IT band a break from high-impact activities.
IT band syndrome can be a deliberating injury for most runners and take them away from what they love to do. Luckily, there are options to help reduce discomfort and get you back to running. The RK-1 plus knee brace for IT band syndrome provides a unique blend of compression, stability, breathability, and helps alignment. Bracing is a great option to protect the knee and provide runners with protection. It should always be incorporated with some form of strength, flexibility and stability program to allow a runner a full recovery.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
EVAN JEFFRIES is a physical therapist with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT) from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. He is also the owner of Evolving Motion and has vast knowledge of the musculoskeletal system and has treated many orthopedic conditions by bringing a proactive approach to healthcare and lifestyle. Recently he has also been active on social media as an injury analyst mainly in related to injuries NBA players have sustained. Evan can be followed on his social media accounts.