Soft Tissue Therapy & Marathon Training (ITB Syndrome)

Soft Tissue Therapist Kerri Underdown discusses the management of one of the most common running injuries, ITB (iliotibial band) friction syndrome.

Whether you’re training for a forthcoming marathon or enjoy distance running for general fitness. One of the common injuries to occur is ITB friction/​inflammation which is an over-use injury.

This normally emulates itself as soreness/​stabbing pain on the outside of the knee and is worse with activity/​running and can be exacerbated with running down hill. There is no specific trauma that causes the injury. In advance stages you will be unable to run due to the pain.

We would like to encourage regular runners to have a preventative soft tissue treatment to help avoid the above and keep the muscles you’re using to run, healthy.

A regular soft tissue treatment in your training programme will enable your legs to recover more quickly, keep your muscles in balance and you will feel lighter on your legs and have more energy in them.

When you come for your soft tissue treatment we will assess you and check for any muscle tightness by looking at your range of motion. Typically with ITB symptoms there will be fascial restriction along the outside of your thigh, as well as tightness in your muscles on the inside of your thigh, the back of your leg, your lower back and the front of your hip and thigh as well as in your glutes (external hip rotators).

We won’t assume any of the above until we’ve assessed you and then we will work on the structures that need to be released. Even if you’re only experiencing symptoms on one side we will aim to treat the opposing leg as this is likely to be compensating.

If you’re reading this and it’s sounding like a familiar scenario and you’re unable to currently run due to the pain, the most important thing is to see a Physiotherapist. Resting, icing and taking an anti inflammatory as prescribed by your GP/​pharmacist will help in the meantime. A Physio will be able to assess your hip and knee biomechanics which can impact on this injury.

Things to consider:

  • Don’t increase your running mileage too quickly
  • Cross train – use other sports/​disciplines to improve your running
  • Include strength training as part of your programme to ensure your muscles provide enough stability 
  • Regular stretching will help muscles recover after a run and prepare them for a run

Soft Tissue Therapy treatment goals:

  • Reduce fascial tightness/​restrictions
  • Reduce muscle tone and treat over active areas of muscles (trigger points)
  • Treat other areas of the body which could be compensating
  • Promote circulation, reduce stress levels and heart rate 
  • Action point:
  • Incorporate a soft tissue treatment into your running programme for injury prevention 

If you’re interested in booking an appointment with a soft tissue therapist follow the link or call your nearest clinic.