Are you or someone you know experiencing a clicking sensation in your knee when you go for bike rides, run, walk or go up and down stairs? You’re not really having too much pain from this sensation, but it is concerning for you and you don’t want it to get in the way of your training for your long bike races coming up in the Spring? If this sounds like you, your Iliotibial band, also known as IT band, may be tight and causing friction on the outside of your knee.
This is a very common issue for a lot of avid bikers, runners and walkers. The IT band is a band of fascia which is a dense fibrous connective tissue that attaches at the side of the hip to the side of the knee. It is responsible for maintaining tension in the lateral leg for activity. This IT band is very difficulty to stretch since it is not a muscle. The best types of treatment for issues with the IT band are going to be physical therapy to help get rid of any restrictions in the band as well as to re-align the fibers with manual therapy techniques.
Some great home treatments however in the meantime will be to foam roll!!! I know this is the exercise my patients seem to complain about the most, but trust me, it really works!! You will hate me for about a week for suggesting this, but I promise if you foam roll everyday for 2 minutes on each side AFTER your workouts, it WILL begin feeling better! You want to find the spots that feel like you are digging into a bruise, and when you can not tolerate much more, roll off of this spot to find another.
There are many different types of foam rollers. If you have never foam rolled before, you may want to start with a softer foam. You should be able to tolerate foam rolling for about 2 minutes with the foam roller of your choice. If the roller is too hard, you will not cause any damage, but it will affect your tolerance and you will not end up foam rolling at all. As you become more accustom to foam rolling and your roller, you will begin to improve your tolerance to where there is no longer discomfort. If this happens you want to bump up to the next foam density. You should always have some bit of discomfort with foam rolling to ensure you are releasing the restrictions properly in the IT band.
That clicking sensation you were once getting in your knee with all the biking and running should go away in just a few weeks if you keep up with the foam rolling regimen regularly. If you have given foam rolling a good few weeks try, and you still are having this clicking in the knee with bending and straightening. Please make an appointment to see one of the therapists here a Breakaway physical therapy for an evaluation, as the meniscus or arthritis may also cause a clicking sensation in the knee. Usually these pathologies are both associated with increased pain. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to shoot us an email or give us a call! Happy Foam rolling!!!
Alexandra Urban, DPT, CMTPT, HFS, CEAS