By Lacy Clevenger, PTA
If you’re experiencing a nagging, achy pain on the outside of your hip or knee, you may be dealing with IT band syndrome. This is common with running and endurance sports or any activity that requires repetitive bending of the knee. The IT band is a thick connective tissue that starts at the top of the hip and attaches below the knee. Pain starts to occur when there is friction between the IT band and the bones of the hip or knee, though pain is more commonly experienced at the knee. Weak hips and lack of lower extremity flexibility can make you more prone to this.
Here are 5 stretches/exercises to treat IT band syndrome and help prevent recurrence:
- Foam rolling: Lie on the affected side with the foam roller just below the hip bone. Slowly roll until the foam roller is just above the knee joint, then roll back to the starting position. Repeat this 10-15 times. Discomfort is common with this, but will improve with time.
- Hip flexor stretch: Sit on the edge of a bed and hug one knee toward your chest. Lie back, then actively pull the opposite heel down towards the floor as well as back towards the bed. This should create a stretch along the front of your hip/thigh. Hold this for 30-60 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
- Glute stretch: Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor/bed. Cross one ankle onto the opposite knee then pull your knee towards your opposite shoulder. A stretch should be felt on the back and/or side of the hip. Hold this for 30-60 seconds and repeat 3-5 times.
- Clam shells: Lie on your side with both knees bent. Try to keep your shoulders, hips, and knees in a straight line so that your feet are resting behind you. Keep your heels together and lift the top knee, stopping just before you feel the hips start to roll backwards. Repeat slowly 20-30 times. An elastic band can be added around the legs, just above the knees to add resistance and increase difficulty. \
- Side leg lifts: Lie on one side and lift the opposite leg up towards the ceiling, keeping the knee straight. As you lift the leg, keep it slightly behind the hip which helps to engage the glutes. Do not let your hips roll backwards. Repeat 20-30 times or until muscle fatigue is felt.
By Steffen Hess, PTA, Tulsa Bone & Joint Bartlesville
When you think of surgery, do you first think about pain or pain relief? What if there was a way to have pain relief and to help your recovery process before you have surgery? For many, being told you need to have surgery can be a scary notion to accept. For those who have lived extended periods of time with pain, surgery can be a way to see some normalcy or regain their independence in the future.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapy before surgery (pre-hab) can help to improve mobility, improve the patient’s range of motion, increase stamina, help to reduce pain, improve balance, and speed up recovery time.
When entering a pre-hab program, a patient will meet with a physical therapist (PT) that will talk to them about what they should expect from not only therapy but also what they should expect after surgery. A pre-hab program will include therapeutic exercises that will help to rebuild muscles that may have been neglected or have atrophied over the years. Muscular imbalances in the body can cause increased joint pressure and premature wear and tear on the cartilage in our joints, causing pain.
Some of the exercises in a pre-hab program will also help with flexibility. Working on flexibility and rebuilding muscle will increase the patient’s mobility and will help start to alleviate pain. The PT will also give the patients tests to measure their range of motion. Pre-hab exercises before surgery can help to reduce muscle loss, decreased range of motion and may help prevent the development of excessive scar tissue. Lastly, the patient will be screened for fall risk. If the patient is at high risk for falls, physical therapists will provide exercises that safely and carefully challenge his or her balance as a way to mimic real-life situations.
There are also additional treatments that your PT can use to help to reduce your pain. Some of these treatments that can help are hot/cold treatments, taping (such as rock tape) and electrical stimulation. Although these treatments offer temporary pain relief, they can help the patient to relax which promotes healing. According to renowned physical therapist Adriaan Louw, teaching people about pain can be one of the most beneficial ways to help the patients to learn why they are in so much pain and how they can use what they have learned to help to reduce their pain. Even if prehab only lasts for a couple weeks before surgery, it can be very beneficial and help you get back to an independent lifestyle sooner.
The Alter G rehab treadmill allows athletes, runners and surgery patients alike to recover at a quicker rate, while minimizing stress on injuries. Listen to how Cathy was able to quickly get back to work! Call the Tulsa Bone & Joint Physical Therapists at 918-392-1482 for more info.