Is your pain really coming from your knee?
Many runners suffer from runner’s knee, also known as iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). The iliotibial (IT) band originates in the pelvis as the tensor fascia lata (TFL). The TFL can become overused when we don’t use enough of our glutes during activities. The gluteus medius is an important lateral hip stabilizer, but since running is a strictly forward motion, this muscle can become underactive. When the gluteus medius becomes weak, the TFL has to carry the load. Eventually, though, the TFL can’t handle the burden, and runners will start to notice pain at its attachment at the kneecap. The IT band attaches to the lateral patella. If the IT band becomes excessively tight, it can pull on the patella, leading to knee pain.
To treat this condition, the IT band needs to be stretched and lengthened. More importantly, however, the gluteus medius muscle needs to be strengthened. By strengthening your glutes, you decrease the load to the TFL and IT band. Also, when running, keep your knees in line with your toes. Your knees may be falling inward, also placing strain on your knees.
Come to Stretch Pro to have an evaluation by a physical therapist so that we can create the right plan for you to get you back to running pain free!
By Ryan Kahanu, PT, DPT
Treating Ankle Sprains
If you have ever had an ankle sprain, you know how significantly the sprain affected every movement you made. Ligaments don’t have as good a blood supply as bone and muscle. Therefore, it takes them longer to heal. Knowing what to do once you get a sprain, all the way through until weeks after, will help to decrease any compensations and injury risk in the future. Because your foot is the first part of your body to contact the floor when you walk, any alteration in your foot mechanics will affect the entire body. As soon as possible after injury, be sure to ice and elevate the foot and ankle in order to decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation. Keep the foot in a brace to provide support and to decrease pooling of blood and fluid into the foot.
It is also a good idea to see your doctor to get any imaging and medication
prescribed. You may be provided crutches as well to help decrease weight bearing to the foot. If you use a cane or one crutch, be sure to use the crutch on the side opposite of the injured foot. Too often people place the crutch or cane on the same side as the injured foot. This, however, may lead the person to bend his or her spine towards the injury. I highly recommend getting an evaluation by a physical therapist to ensure that your gait is as normal as possible to prevent any compensation, and to know what range of motion exercises you should start doing right away to prevent your ankle from getting stiff.
By Ryan Kahanu, PT, DPT