Life is a matter of balance. Whether you live a life of adventure, or prefer to take everything in stride, one thing has got to be present: stability. Runners, in particular know the importance of it; after all, the flexion and abduction of muscles are immensely important in this activity.
Flex your hip and rotate your leg. If you’re feeling sharp “grinding” pain, stinging, or soreness on the outside of your knee, you may be experiencing tensor fasciae latae pain, more commonly known as Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). The IT band, as it’s commonly known, is a fascia – a thick band of fibers that runs from your hipbone all the way to your knee. A crucial component when it comes to keeping you stable, this region can experience trauma when high-impact activities (running, cycling, and the like) cause an athlete’s leg to turn inwards repeatedly; for this reason, it’s classified as an “overuse” injury.
If you’re a novice runner, don’t fret thinking it was your lack of experience that caused said pain; the ailment can occur in everyone from track & field stars to weekend warriors, and has a myriad of causes. Discrepancies in leg lengths, muscles weakness in the glutes and hips, and a lack of proper strength required for activities are common culprits. Luckily, there are many techniques to help get you on the road to repair.
Along with a full physical examination, your physician may perform an MRI – which can detect inflammation beneath and around the iliotibial band. Athletic people tend to dislike being stagnant; unfortunately, taking a break is often your first line of defense in preventing reoccurring tensor fasciae latae pain. In addition to the old standby “RICE” method – rest, ice, compression, and elevation – your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pressure.
Rehabilitation therapy may include combining treatment with a kinesiology method, by applying KT Tape to the treatment area. KT Tape is an adhesive elastic sports bandage that can be applied along the muscles and ligaments to support the area in need, essentially decompressing the layers of fascia to allow increased blood flow and lymphatic fluid.
Many years ago – before physicians had a window to the inside of the body, medical treatments were akin to trial and error; they often missed the true root of the problem, or failed to address the direct site of pain. Advances in technology, such as ultrasound-guided injections, have allowed doctors to pinpoint exact sites of pain rather than administering a dose of pain meds, or cortisone, to a general area where it may not provide adequate relief. A potent anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections can offer long-lasting relief. However, many physicians abstain from administering cortisone injections too often, as an excess (over 4 a year) may lead to tendon rupture.
While avoiding high-intensity workouts is important for the healing process, one must strengthen the muscles if they have hope of ever getting “back in the saddle”. In addition to stretches – which can be done at home or with the assistance of a rehabilitation therapist – your doctor may recommend myofascial release. Taking massage therapy to another level, this hands-on soft tissue manipulation involves applying precise-but-gentle pressure to tight areas. The result is a renewed range of motion, elongated fascia, a reduction in stiffness, and restored tissue health. If you’re considering this technique, you’ll want to do due diligence; always verify that your sports medicine doctor has acquired the proper certifications for this technique.
If other methods of mending aren’t doing the trick, Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP) is a conservative, yet beneficial treatment used to repair soft tissue injuries or prevent persistent pain. It harnesses the power of the platelet. Naturally-occurring in the body, these vital components in the blood are key to helping you heal. More specifically, they bond to the site of injuries to heal wounds, while stimulating stem cells to regenerate tissues in need of mending. PRP therapy harnesses a concentrated dose of platelets and injects it into the damaged area to propel the healing process. Because the sample is retrieved from the patient’s own blood, the process is relatively low-risk.
Specializing in a bevy of non-invasive techniques that can reduce, postpone, or even prevent the need for serious surgeries, the experienced staff at Delaware Back Pain & Sports Rehabilitation Centers will offer a customized course of treatment based on your specific needs. While frustrating, tensor fasciae latae doesn’t have to put an end to your favorite pastimes. Call Delaware Back Pain & Sports Rehabilitation Centers at (302) 529-8783 or request an appointment to find out more about these, and other rehabilitation methods. With several locations to choose from, getting relief from recurring or chronic pain is right around the corner.