Causes of ITB / Iliotibial Band Pain

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Pain & Muscle Wasting

Muscle wasting is a common factor in iliotibial band (ITB) pain and plays a significant role in the majority of iliotibial band (ITB) pain cases. Our muscles weaken prematurely when we live in an urban environment; as they seldom get the type of workout they were evolved for. We did not evolve to walk on hard flat surfaces all the time. We evolved to walk on uneven and constantly changing terrain.The vast majority of iliotibial band (ITB) pain sufferers have muscle wasting in their glutes. Steadily strengthening the glutes  over time is a vital piece of the iliotibial band (ITB) pain jigsaw for most iliotibial band (ITB) pain patients.

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Pain & Scar Tissue

Scar tissue is a far more common cause of iliotibial band (ITB) pain than most people realise. Scar tissue from old injuries that weren’t properly rehabilitated is a major cause of iliotibial band (ITB) pain. Scar tissue can form in relation to injury, but it can also build up gradually due to alignment and gait issues. The presence of scar tissue can cause irritation of the iliotibial band (ITB) and contribute to chronic iliotibial band (ITB) pain. Happily scar tissue can be broken down in most cases using shockwave therapy and Graston Technique.

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Pain & Gait Problems

Even the most sedentary of us take millions of steps per year on hard surfaces like concrete, tarmac & paving. The forces generated when our heels strike concrete are more significant than you think. If your arches are particularly high or particularly flat, the strain of walking on hard ground in fashionable footwear is magnified many times. Not only are these kinds of foot issues a major cause of knee pain, ankle pain, foot pain, they are also a major cause of iliotibial band (ITB) pain. At Featherston St. Pain Clinic we use cutting edge sensors and machine learning algorithms to identify gait issues that need to be worked on, just sayin!

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Pain & Sedentary Work

There is no escaping from the fact that we evolved to be far more active organisms than most of us now are. The amount of movement involved in child rearing, nest building, water gathering, foraging, hunting & evading vicious packs of honey baggers is what we were made for..  and now we ‘write code’. Our bodies are adapted to move. Prolonged sitting or even standing at work for more than 30 hours a week can lead to iliotibial band (ITB) pain; by slowly but surely weakening the stabilising muscles, tightening the fascia and compressing the knee and hip joint. 

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Pain & ‘Poor Technique’

Poor execution of movement in sports and exercise can place unnatural strain on joints and soft tissues and cause iliotibial band (ITB) pain. Improper training methods are a major cause of pain and injury. Lifting heavy weights without good technique is the obvious one.  An extremely common cause of iliotibial band (ITB) pain is distance running on hard surfaces like tarmac with poor form. Running on hard ground without correct technique & leg strength can place significant strain on the iliotibial band (ITB). Using technology to identify movement imbalances is an excellent start point to improving technique and reducing this type of iliotibial band (ITB) pain.

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Pain & Lifestyle

There are many lifestyle choices that can harm our tissues badly enough to cause iliotibial band (ITB) pain.. A great example would be the classic ‘supporting a child on your iliotibial band (ITB) while doing things around the house’ on a daily basis. Another example would be the patient who plays video games for 12 hours a day and doesn’t exercise.  Being forced into unnatural mobility scenarios by life is perfectly normal and healthy; it’s when these movements are excessively repetitive that they can become a cause of iliotibial band (ITB) pain.

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Pain & Stress  

Many people attending their chosen healthcare providers office with bad iliotibial band (ITB) pain have some kind of increased stress going on in the background. Occupational, financial and relationship  stressors are sometimes  triggers for chronic iliotibial band (ITB) pain in a percentage of cases. It is important to distinguish ‘trigger’ from ‘cause’ here because if you have a healthy iliotibial band (ITB) it is not likely that stress will trigger bad pain. If however, you suffer from stress or unresolved trauma they can trigger latent iliotibial band (ITB) issues into stubborn  pain. Regardless of whether stress is playing a part in your iliotibial band (ITB) pain it should still respond well to pain management tools and technologies.