If you have noticed that you are starting to have pain on the outside part of the knee when you run there is a good chance that you may be developing iliotibial band syndrome or IT band pain.
If that is the case then it is important to start treatment early and aggressively in order to prevent a long time away from running or other sports and as always, if you are unsure whether or not that you have IT band pain or some other type of injury, then it is important to make sure that you get an accurate diagnosis from your sports medicine physician before starting on any treatment plan.
Usually taking these few simple steps early on in the injury can help get you back quickly.
One acronym that is helpful to remember is PRICE which is a treatment method for any type of soft tissue injury, and will work well of the iliotibial band and for other types of acute knee pain.
The P stands for Protect. It is important to protect the knee or the injured joint if it is an acute injury.
The R is for Rest which we usually like to refer to as "relative" rest. This may require you cutting down on your running mileage to an amount of running mileage that is comfortable or pain free.
I stands for Ice. Ice helps reduce swelling and inflammation as well as decreasing pain. You can usually use ice in an ice bag for 10 to 15 minutes to the affected area and alternate the ice on and off as needed for pain control. Be careful not to apply the ice directly on the skin because some people will develop a frostbite. Also remember to place a towel or a washcloth onto the skin first before applying the ice bag. Using ice is helpful within the first 24 to 48 hours of an injury when the swelling and inflammation is most severe. After the initial 48 hours after the injury there may actually be some detriment to using ice as it decreases blood flow and may delay the healing response.
C stands for Compression which can also help reduce swelling that results and is caused by the inflammatory healing process. This can be done by using something as simple as an ace wrap or elastic bandage wrapped around the knee or using an IT Band strap.
E stands for Elevation which we typically recommend to elevate the leg above the level of the heart to help increase return of venus blood flow to the rest of the body and decrease swelling.
Anti-inflammatory pain medicines may be helpful in some folks, but there are some risks involved especially if you have a history of stomach ulcers. So always take anti-inflammatories with food and if you find that you need to take them longer for 3 to 4 days, it is probably time to seek medical advice due to long term complications with taking anti-inflammatories or other pain medications.
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