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How to Protect Our Hips from IT Band Problems


What is the IT band and how do problems start here and how can you protect your hips?  There are a number of muscles on the outside of your hip that attach to the IT band. The job of all of these muscles is to keep the hip joint structures open, help support the joint and then create the movement of the joint. Most commonly what happens when you are experiencing some level of IT band problems, is that the muscles on the outside of the hip that are working to hold the hip together while we move the leg are overworking. This means that they are pulling too hard on the IT band and as a result, that long tendon is put under stress and begins to be inflamed. This causes pain and problems when we stand or walk.

Let’s use the example of someone walking. When we walk and place our foot on the ground, the IT band and the muscles that attach to it are responsible for keeping the hip in the socket as well as absorbing the impact of our foot hitting the ground. This major work load is asking the muscles and the IT band to contract, or shorten, in order to hold the hip in the socket while at the same time asking it to expand in an effort to act like a shock absorber and dissipate the impact along the IT band. These countering actions place great stress on the hip and the IT band. This leads to a breakdown of the structures here causing problems over time.  It’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to help avoid other problems from occurring and you from enjoying your morning walk or jog, your weekly exercise classes, or your community soccer game.

Physical Therapy can help you protect your hips!  A physical therapist can determine the exact cause(s) of your hip pain and can educate you as to why it has started and how it can be corrected.  It is always a good idea to have an expert therapist check out your hips even if you are not currently having problems. The hip joints and the surrounding structures are ones we rely on for every movement we make and keeping them healthy will prevent future problems from occurring.

IT band problems typically cause pain in the beginning when you place weight on your leg. As they progress, IT band issues begin to cause pain anytime you move the leg in any direction. The pain is usually on the outside of the hip near that bone and as the problem progresses it will travel down the outside of the leg to the knee or even below the knee.

So how do you prevent and/or treat IT band problems? The key is to make sure the structures that provide stability are doing their job to keep the hip joint open and make sure that the muscles of the hip are working in good combination with each other to ensure the hip moves smoothly.

At Loudoun Sports Therapy CenterOur physical therapists will determine the exact cause(s) of your hip pain and establish an individualized plan of care that will eliminate the problem AND prevent it from returning.

Protect your hip.  The expert Physical Therapists at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center can outline the proper program for YOUR hip.  Everyone’s hip is different and may or may not benefit from the “best hip workout” on the internet. Call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300.

CLICK HERE for more on how physical therapy can help you. 

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By: Mike Bills, MS PT

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