Acupuncture Beats IT Band Syndrome Hands Down

IT Band Syndrome, or “runner’s knee”, plagues runners, triathletes & cyclists alike. It is so common that many athletes believe it is something that just has to be endured, however Acupuncture has many ways to approach this issue with outstanding results.

IT Band Syndrome can occur for multiple reasons. One is that the TFL muscle, Tensor Fasciae Latae, gets overly tight or even spasms. This pulls on the IT Band (tendon) shortening it & causing irritation as it rubs over the lateral epicondyle of the femur (bony protrusion on the lower lateral end of the femur). This chronic rubbing causes irritation & damage to the tendon compounding the problem. The tendon itself then gets inundated with waste byproducts & inflammatory fluids & has difficulty dispersing them, as tendons notoriously have terrible blood flow innately.

As this progresses, it causes increasing pain as the muscle tightness increases & the inflammation worsens. The domino effect is then in full swing as the athlete (often unconsciously) changes their running gate or the cyclist’s hip & leg alignment in their pedal stroke. Now the problem escalates at it is being transferred along to the lumbar, QL, hamstrings, hip flexors, etc.

Treating the root cause has the most dynamic effect to bring about actual healing & to avoid any migrating issues. This is often done in Acupuncture by utilizing needling, electrical stimulation & cupping.

Needling is done at points along the hips to effect not only the TFL muscle, but also the Gluteus Medius, Periformis, & other muscles that will be involved in the imbalance. Needling is also done at the point of inflammation along side the tendon above the outer knee. The needles are placed on both sides of tendon (bookending it) & electrical stimulation is applied. This electrical current increases the local circulation to the tendon facilitating genuine healing, while simultaneously decreasing inflammation.

Cupping is a process where a vacuum is created in a cup & applied to the skin. This suction draws the skin, facia, blood, & tissue up superficially. This helps to draw trapped toxins, lactic acid, & inflammatory fluids out of the tissue where the lymphatics can drain it away, thereby improving the overall circulation & function of the muscles & tendons. The cups can also be slid along the muscle or tendon sheath, in this case along the IT band from knee to hip. This causes myofascial release, stimulates the stretch reflex, & reduces inflammation.

It is also of prime importance for cyclists rehabbing from this to check for proper body mechanics, bike fitting, foot/cleat positioning, & muscular imbalances for best results.

Christina Roy is a licensed acupuncturist practicing in Boulder, Colorado. One of her specialties is treating sports injuries and performance enhancement. She has worked with multiple cycling & triathlon groups in Boulder to help with recovery treatments after races, as well as injury prevention & performance enhancement. She is also a cyclist & dreams to some day do the RAAM (Race Across America) solo! To learn more about the benefits of acupuncture to cyclists, visit her site at Premier Acupuncture Boulder

Christina Roy MSOM, L.Ac.
Premier Acupuncture of Boulder
720-938-9248

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4 Comments

"Runners Knee" - not

I'm a firm believe in acupuncture, but this article is so uninformed as to be scary:

1. "Runners Knee" and ITB Syndrom are two totally different, utterly unrelated issues. Even the weekend warrior knows this.

2. "Treating the root cause ..." is definitely the preferred treatment modality. Inflammation is obviously not the root cause; it is a result, so treating that is termed "symptomatic". In runners, the root cause is usually dropping the pelvis on each stride, causing the ITB to pick up too much of the work. I don't know the cause in cyclists.

I love this post

The key which you might want to mention is to strengthen the muscles that resist the impacts which I call the landing muscles, the spring suspension system muscles or the pronation supination cuff muscles. With a foot plant that maintains the rolling from supination to pronation in the safe range you will have less stress on the TFL because that muscle fires when the limb internally rotates or if the person heel lands dampening the spring action of the limb forcing the limb to act like a lever PULLING the mass forward vs SPRINGING the mass forward with the glut medius and TFL down to the toe nail :)

Here are my last two articles you might find helpful:

Is Running Bad For Your Knees? How Does The Body Spring Back Safely From Impacts Of Running and Walking?

http://teamdoctorsblog.com/2012/06/13/video-tutorial-12-is-running-bad-f...

Self-Tests & Exercises To Reduce Over Pronation and Over Supination From Impacts During Walking and Running

http://teamdoctorsblog.com/2012/06/18/video-tutorial-28-the-impact-absor...

Dr James Stoxen DC, President, Team Doctors

Term used for multiple conditions

The term "Runner's Knee" is a term that refers to many conditions, not just one. It can refer to Chondromalacia, Patellar Tendonitis, IT Band Syndrome, etc. It unfortunately has become an overused term, such as Sciatica is used for almost any radiating leg pain.

It has become an overused term. But please do not label this as "uninformed".

Here is another source of the same opinion http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/sport-injuries/knee-pain/iliotibial-ba...

Thank you

please stop

If you disagree with the opinion stated by a learned person, then put your full name on it, then post your qualifications to disagree, *then* you may disagree. It would be a refreshing change if you could state your opinion without a back-handed insult via your use of "uninformed".

Now, if you had started your opinion with your last sentence I could have easily ignored because *you* are uninformed that this is called 303CYCLING not 303RUNNING. So, your lack of knowledge on this topic AND cycling is pointless.