Your IT band is a band of connective tissue that runs from your hip to the outside of the knee. One of the most common overuse injuries is IT band syndrome, in which this band becomes irritated and inflamed. Whether you're new to running or an experienced athlete, it's important to take steps to prevent IT band syndrome. Here are three things you should include in your routine:
Visit the Chiropractor Regularly
One of the primary contributors to IT band syndrome is misalignment of the hips. Especially if you run on a lot of banked surfaces, like the sides of roads, one hip can end up sitting higher in the pelvis than the other. This causes the components of one leg – including the IT band – to be under excess strain.
Visiting the chiropractor regularly can keep your hips in alignment. Your chiropractor can adjust your hips to make sure they sit evenly in your pelvis, preventing the uneven pressure that contributes to IT band syndrome. Chiropractic adjustments are safe and gentle, so you don't need to worry about taking time off from running afterwards. Visit a chiropractic service, like University Physical Medicine, for more informaion.
Run on Flat Surfaces More Often
The side of the road is often a convenient place to run, but hitting a flat trail or track more often will help keep your hips in alignment. This will minimize your risk of hip misalignment and the IT band syndrome that often follows, and it will likely mean you don't have to visit the chiropractor quite as often. When you do run on the side of the road, try rotating between sides of the road so that one leg is not continually under more strain than the other.
Make Sure You're Still Wearing the Right Shoes
Getting fitted for shoes at your local running store will ensure you're wearing ones that are compatible with your foot's anatomy and with your stride. This will prevent excess strain on your IT band, which can be a problem in particular if your foot tends to pronate (roll in at the ankle) and you don't wear shoes to correct for this issue. But getting fitted once is not enough. As you develop as a runner, your stride and foot anatomy tend to change. So, the shoes that were right for you three years ago may not still be right for you today. Visit your local running store about once a year for a fitting to ensure you keep wearing the right shoes.