Runner's Syndrome also called IT Band Syndrome or Runner's Knee is a inflammation of the iliotibial band due to repetitive rubbing of the tendon of the tensor fascia lata muscle with the outside of the knee.
This injury causes pain, burning and inflammation during the race that increases depending on the kilometers traveled, which is why the main patients who suffer from it are athletes, specifically long-distance runners.
One way to classify the causes of an injury can be speaking of intrinsic factors (own of the body) or extrinsic (external to the body). In the case of runner's knee, most causes are intrinsic:
As we have previously mentioned, the main symptomatology is pain on the outside of the knee which increases as the impacts of our feet on the ground progress. Also, pain increases when running downhill since the tension on the tensor fascia latae muscle is greater in this movement. Once we finish training or we are forced to stop due to the pain caused by said injury, the discomfort usually stops.
However, there are several pathologies with similar symptoms. To differentiate them, we can perform two tests that can help us identify runner's knee and not to confuse it with another lesion:
We position ourselves on one leg on the injured limb. Subsequently, we flex the knee to 30-40° and remain in this position for a few seconds. If pain appears, it will let us know that we suffer from iliotibial band syndrome.
We lie on our side with the injured leg up (contralateral lateral decubitus) with hips and knees flexed. Next, we perform extension + adduction (bring the knee in) of the hip. If the movement of adduction is limited, it would mean a shortening of the iliotibial band.
The most important, as with any type of injury, it is act as quickly as possible since the more kilometers we run with a "slight discomfort", the sooner it will become an injury.
First of all, it is advisable to reduce sports activity (which does not mean stop) as this will decrease inflammation of the tendon. This effect will also be achieved with cryotherapy (ice application) in the area of pain. In addition, we must perform strengthening exercises for the gluteus medius, gluteus maximus and the tensor of the fascia lata to prevent our knee from going inwards (knee valgus) during the support phase of the race and thus avoid overloading the outer part of the knee. Addiction, the use of presotherapy will help reduce muscle fatigue, which, as we have seen previously, is one of the factors that causes the iliotibial band syndrome.
If with the above advice our pain has not improved or the improvement is insufficient to continue with our usual sports practice, we should go to the physiotherapist so that we can return to training without pain and, most importantly, not to relapse.
Next, we are going to give you a series of tips so you can prevent runner's knee and thus avoid a break in your training, which may affect the performance of your future competitions:
Alice Vicario, physiotherapist and creator of Fisiovik (IG: @fisiovik).
I have studied Sports Sciences and Physical Activity and I specialized in the branch of Health. I worked in a physiotherapy clinic for years as a sports rehabilitator until I finally decided to do physiotherapy.