The month of April is usually the period when Comrades Marathon runners do their “long runs”, which unfortunately may also lead to injury.
What may appear as a slight niggle on the side of the knee may soon develop into severe, limiting pain if left untreated.
This condition is called ITB (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) and is related to weak stabilisers in the pelvis and/or overtraining. If the runner continues to train, it may aggravate the injury or even cause stress fractures.
What is ITB?
The ITB is a band of connective tissue running down the outside of the thigh, attaching to the Tensor Fascia Latae (a muscle in the buttock) at the top and below the knee on the outside. The tighter the muscle in the buttock, the more tension it exerts on the insertion below the knee. This then causes friction, which results in inflammation and pain.
The tension in this band is most commonly caused by faulty biomechanics in the pelvis, overtraining – too much, too soon, or shoes that are either wrong or worn.
Always running on one side of the road where one leg is higher or lower than the other due to the road camber, may also affect pelvis alignment and can be a cause of ITB.