Runner’s Pain: How to Avoid a Common Overuse Injury
Get expert tips for preventing illiotibial band syndrome.
When you run, sharp pains or a burning sensation on the outside of the knee aren’t normal. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, you may have an overuse injury involving the illiotibial band (ITB). The ITB is a group of fibers along the outside of the thigh that help to stabilize the knee and hip when you run.
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Overuse can lead to pain and inflammation, or ITB syndrome, explains physical therapist Amanda Gordon, PT.
Research says that one out of four runners will develop ITB syndrome, which can be caused by:
Gordon suggests that runners increase mileage by no more than 10 percent per week. In addition, they recommend walking for about five minutes before and after running.
To help prevent ITB syndrome, here are three exercises that can strengthen your hips:
If you feel ITB pain or discomfort, ice the area for 10 to 20 minutes and decrease your mileage.
Once you feel better, begin a stretching and strengthening program. You may also want to change your running habits. Run every other day, and go at a slower pace. You can also try alternating your running with an activity like biking or swimming.
With these measures, ITB syndrome will usually resolve in about six weeks, says Gordon. But if pain continues, or increases in intensity, see your physician.