This week’s post is for the gents, sorry ladies. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t walk away with the take home message; regional interdependence is always at play. Regional interdependence is a fancy way of saying that one area of the body can have influence on the way another area moves and feels.

This week’s review is on the article listed below.

Noehren B, Schmitz A, Hempel R, Westlake C, Black W. Assessment of strength, flexibility, and running mechanics in men with iliotibial ban syndrome. Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy. 44(3). 217-221.

This study was unique in that it was the first attempt at developing a “comprehensive injury profile,” as the authors put it, for male runners with iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). ITBS is associated with pain on the outside portion of the knee, just above the knee joint. The pain is usually achy or burning in nature and typically grows in intensity the longer one does the offending activity, in this case running. Plenty of runners, both male and female, suffer from ITBS with some research putting the incidence as high as 14% among runners.  Regardless it has earned a reputation as one of the leading causes of lateral knee pain in runners.

The purpose of the study was to look at the similarities of the biomechanics, strength, and movement patterns between male runners with ITBS compared to pain free male runners. What the authors found was that the ITBS group of male runners had greater knee adduction and greater hip internal rotation angles during running as well as weaker hip external rotators compared to the pain free control group.  There is debate on the mechanisms that can cause these common characteristics but likely the cause or driving factor may be different for each runner.

There is plenty more that can be said in regards to regional interdependence and the influence of various joints and motor control on running mechanics and ITBS. The are studies out there that have shown a relationship between altered ankle/foot mechanics and ITBS. We could even say that lumbar spine and thoracic spine mechanics may have an influence on ITBS in runners. Regardless the take home message remains the same.  Different areas of the body can influence pain and performance in regions that are close or remote. So, the real culprit of your knee pain may not actually be your knee.