For the most acute cases, rest is usually the best medicine. As the injury improves, you can try to bike or use the elliptical until you're able to return to running. While it may derail your training, the longer you put off the healing process, the worse the injury is likely to get.
"Soft tissue work, like foam rolling and Graston, can help provide some relief, and may even eliminate symptoms," says Dolobowsky. These measures are often effective when you are first experiencing pain, allowing you to tackle the issue before it worsens. Not only can soft tissue massage and related treatments help work out any adhesions that have developed along the IT band, but it can also assist in stretching the tissue and making it more pliable.
Even still, ITBS is likely to continue rearing its ugly head until you address the root cause of the injury. If you are a runner who has experienced these issues in the past, it is worth having a physical therapist assess your gait and lower extremity strength to identify potential weak spots that may be causing the problem in the first place.
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"A physical therapist can diagnose the muscle imbalances that are putting extra strain on the IT band, and develop a treatment program to resolve your specific issues," says Dolobowsky.
Runners should start a strength routine that includes exercises such as single-leg balance moves, side leg lifts and clamshells. The purpose of such exercises is to strengthen the major running muscles and the smaller stabilizing muscles that help support the running motion.
While ITBS can be persistent once it takes hold, strength and flexibility work done 2 to 3 times a week can make all the difference. If you are beginning to feel a bit of tightness near the outside of your knee or a tinge of pain around your hip, it's well worth the few minutes it takes to do these exercises. Your body will thank you down the road.
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