Treatment For Iliotibial Band / ITB Pain

Successful management and relief of IT Band Pain generally take a systematic, focused, and persistent approach. We specialise in providing fast pain relief, but also longer her term rehab solutions for those who want them.

Step 1 – Get An Accurate Diagnosis For Your Iliotibial Band Pain

When you have pain in your hip, knee, and thigh area, it’s very important to know the actual cause. From a medical perspective knowing the cause is about diagnosing ITB pain issues, bursitis, pain in the quad muscle, ligament tears, osteoarthritis, etc. – this is an important step! Whether you have true ITB Pain or some other condition masquerading as IT Band Pain –  you really need to know.

The second part of the diagnostic process is about understanding why the issue has come about. If you have IT Band Pain there will be a good reason for it! Some of us develop ITB Pain because of scar tissue that relates to old injuries. Some of us develop Iliotibial Pain because of some quirky habit we have developed over time – usually without realising. Some of us develop IT Band Pain because we have unusually flat feet or high arches. There are numerous possible reasons.

Understanding that you have classic Iliotibial Band Pain and knowing the underlying reason or reasons for it is the first and most essential step you need to take – if you want treatment and rehabilitation that is likely to create lasting results!! Identifying the painful tissue AND the movement issues that cause them is the longer-term path to successful treatment of hip pain. 

Step 2 – Hands-On Pain Relief For Your IT Band Pain

In IT Band Pain cases it proves  necessary to work with practitioners who are willing to try a range of  methods to ease your pain. A sheet of exercises and stretches is not likely to cut it. That approach often leads to a need for daily stretching of  your ITB indefinitely – rather than address the underlying issues. At our clinic for treatment examples include… 

Phase 3 – Rehabilitation of Sprained Ankle – Beyond Treatment

This phase of healing and treatment for sprained ankles is commonly understood but seldom followed through on particularly well. Even when Phase 1 & 2 of appropriate sprained ankle treatment have been observed, almost all patients will end up with a trio of joint stiffness, loss of muscle strength & poor proprioception (think balance) following a decent sprained ankle event. 

As a clinic team, we have learned that many patients have already developed weaknesses gradually before the sprained ankle incident  … a kind of chicken/egg scenario. This fact reaffirms the importance of considering a slightly longer term Phase 3 than is traditional. 

Without going into the specifics (which are for another post on another day) Phase 3 should involve AT LEAST 3-6 MONTHS of daily proprioceptive and ankle mobility work for the ankle to be safe. This is in actuality fairly straightforward and just involves 10 mins a day on a wobble board plus a couple of mobility exercises. Really bad sprains actually warrant a couple of years of steady attention in this way and should be tested regularly for proprioceptive gains!

Mobilisation

Manual mobilisation of the hip joint and knee joint can be extremely helpful for IT Band Pain. The ITB is a major support structure for the knee and hip therefore treatment of the joints frequently infers benefit on the IT Band itself.

Stretching

Using hands stretching the hip muscles with a trained practitioner can often bring the type of benefit we struggle to get when stretching ourselves. ‘Passive’ stretches where you relax and breathe while a practitioner stretches you much deeper than you can stretch yourself can be very helpful for releasing the IT Band.

Cryotherapy

The use of ice packs for managing Iliotibial Band Pain can bring significant relief. Ice reduces inflammation and interrupts pain signals. 

Vibration Massage

Deep percussion massage with a mechanical massage machine can be extremely effective at reducing pain in the iliotibial band.

Deep Tissue Release

Releasing acupressure points that are found throughout the ITB of pain sufferers is a key tool in the treatment of IT Band Pain in most cases.

Suction Cups

Using suction cups IT Band increases blood flow to the area and releases the fascia. Many people find dramatic and instant freedom of movement in their IT Band when they receive cupping for the first time.

Scar Tissue Release

If you have had problems with your IT Band for some time you will more than likely have a build-up of microscopic scar tissue in the tissues of the hip. We use a tissue scraping techniques called the Graston Method to break up this kind of scar tissue and set the IT Band free. 

Acupuncture

The use of acupuncture needles as a treatment for ITB Pain is designed to reduce pain signals, reduce muscle spasms and increase blood flow. Many people find acupuncture an extremely helpful tool in the management of their IT Band Pain.

If you have a stubborn Iliotibial Band Band you’ll probably find that you need a determined, flexible, and open minded practitioner who is willing to ‘throw the kitchen sink’ at your pain and find out what works for you. Pain treatment is seldom one size fits all!

Step 3 – Rehabilitation Of Your IT Band

Many pain sufferers are happy simply with pain ‘relief’- many others are feeling more determined to get rid of their pain and are looking for ‘resolution’. If you want your ITB Pain to go away permanently a rehab mindset is likely to be necessary. 

If you have had persisting IT Band Pain that you want to get rid of permanently it’s likely that you will need to address the underlying weaknesses and imbalances uncovered in Step 1. This ‘rehabilitation’ step is generally necessary for those who want to try and ‘ resolve’ their hip pain in the longer term. 

The key to effective IT Band exercises is a willingness to more past endless stretching and move into strength and stability type work – then stick with it over an annoyingly long period of time. 

A percentage of people with stubborn IT Band pain also benefit from insoles in their shoes. These are usually the patients with very high or very low arches. We spend most of our lives on extremely hard flat and unnatural surfaces like concrete, this puts an untold strain on even the healthiest of hips. Orthotics are a way of reducing these unnatural stresses in the long term which can be extremely helpful when managing Iliotibial Band Pain. 

Regardless of which treatments and exercises your particular case of ITB  pain responds to –  the truth is these are all just the details. At the deepest level treatment is about having the FREEDOM  to live a normal active life without being limited by unnecessary pain. The rest is just details!