Faster running possibly less likely to cause IT band syndrome
Three articles on PainSci cite Orchard 1996: 1. The Complete Guide to IT Band Syndrome 2. The Complete Guide to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome 3. IT Band Stretching Does Not Work
PainSci commentary on Orchard 1996: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
Orchard et al proposed that “sprinting and faster running on level ground are less likely to cause or aggravate iliotibial band friction syndrome because, at footstrike, the knee is flexed beyond the angles at which friction occurs.” It’s a reasonable speculation, but please note that they didn’t actually prove that running speed is a risk factor for ITBS: they didn’t do an experiment here. They simply looked at the anatomy and mechanics of knee movement in runners, and found that they “had an average knee flexion angle of 21.4 degrees,” which is somewhat less than the angle at which IT band presses hardest on the side of the knee (“the 30 degrees of flexion traditionally described in the literature.”) Extrapolating from this, they suggested that running downhill (and doing it more slowly) involves more knee flexion in the “danger zone” around 30˚ and therefore “adjustments to running gait that cause the knee to be in a more flexed position at footstrike may prevent ITBFS from occurring.”
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
We propose a biomechanical model to explain the pathogenesis of iliotibial band friction syndrome in distance runners. The model is based on a kinematic study of nine runners with iliotibial band friction syndrome, a cadaveric study of 11 normal knees, and a literature review. Friction (or impingement) occurs near footstrike, predominantly in the foot contact phase, between the posterior edge of the iliotibial band and the underlying lateral femoral epicondyle. The study subjects had an average knee flexion angle of 21.4 degrees +/- 4.3 degrees at footstrike, with friction occurring at, or slightly below, the 30 degrees of flexion traditionally described in the literature. In the cadavers we examined, there was substantial variation in the width of the iliotibial bands. This variation may affect individual predisposition to iliotibial band friction syndrome. Downhill running predisposes the runner to iliotibial band friction syndrome because the knee flexion angle at footstrike is reduced. Sprinting and faster running on level ground are less likely to cause or aggravate iliotibial band friction syndrome because, at footstrike, the knee is flexed beyond the angles at which friction occurs.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.
- No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Kleine-Borgmann 2022 Pain.