I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Even if you are not a doctor it is important to have some knowledge about your body and understand the way it functions. That will make it easier to prevent an injury or find out what is the reason behind the pain you are feeling. More often than not, when a person has knee pain, he thinks the reason is in the knee itself! You try to cure your knee and the pain never goes away! Why? Because you are trying to cure the consequences, not the causation!
I will skip the long and confusing anatomy explanations, because I am aware that most of you don’t like fancy words and I will explain it simpler.
Put your hand on your hip bone. With one of your fingers touch the muscle, which is below the bone and a little to the side of your thigh. This is the TFL, the muscle responsible for the flexion of your hip! This muscle is attached to the so called ITB(iliotibial band), which goes on the outside of the thigh and goes all the way down below the knee. In reality ITB is not a muscle, but a really thick tissue, that can cause a lot of pain when it is too tight or when you overtrain. What happens is that when the ITB is too tight, it starts rubbing in your knee joint, which leads to inflammation. I’ve done that to myself, by overtraining and I will assure you that it is not fun!
How do you know if that is your case? A stabbing pain in your knee when you squat, lunge or perform a similar movement is one of the indicators. If you trace the ITB with your hand and you feel pain, this means that you haven’t stretched enough lately or you overtrained. As you can see from the picture, you will feel a pain down the outer side of your thigh, and the side of your knee. If you do not pay enough attention to this pain and you keep working out, this will lead to inflammation of the inner side of your thigh and you will start feeling pain in your adductor magnus. Thus you will feel a stabbing pain in your knee whenever you try to perform a movement. It is not necessary to feel pain in your thigh when moving. You might just feel it is really tight!
Often people think that in this case the problem starts in the knee and in reality the problem comes from the combination of overloaded, tight TFL and ITB.
How do you take care of it? If the inflammation is too strong, you will need to take some rest from working out, so you can give the pain some time to go away. All this should be accompanied with stretching and foam rolling. Truth is that ITB is a really dense tissue and you need to be persistent in order to loosen it up a little bit.
If you do not want to get to a point where you have such an inflammation DO NOT skip your stretching and foam rolling!
Do you have knee pain caused by the IT band inflamation?