Last week I worked with a lady who is an avid runner…until her hip started to hurt so much that she couldn’t run at all, in fact she could barely walk!
After talking to her for awhile she realized that she always runs the same route every morning. She runs facing the traffic so her left foot falls a tiny bit lower then her right foot because of the slight curve in the roadway. This is doing two things, her right foot is a tiny bit too high, making her right hip muscles contract, and her left foot is too low, so her pelvis is shifting over to that side.
We worked out her tensor fascia lata muscle (you can find it by doing an internet search) and her lateral quadriceps on both legs. Since your iliotibial band (ITB) originates at your tensor fascia lata and gluteus muscles, when they are tight they are pulling up on the ITB and it feels tight, plus you have lateral knee pain. But your ITB is only a tendon and tendons don’t stretch or contract, they simply connect point A to point B. They feel tight when the muscle is pulling on them, just as pulling on your hair will make your hair feel tight and your scalp will hurt.
If you are a runner, pay attention to how your feet are landing (pointing in or pointing out means a rotation of your entire leg); how your hips feel as you run (uneven surface); if you are rolling off your entire foot or are you running on your toes (causes calf contractions that will also cause Achilles tendonitis), and if you are leaning forward as you run (shortening your iliopsoas and rotating your pelvis down in the front). It helps to have a running buddy watch you from behind as you run and check off each of the items I just mentioned. The sooner you can stop a problem and correct your posture/positioning, the better.
I taught my client how to do the full Julstro Protocol so she could release the tension in each of the muscles that had shortened from the uneven pavement, and she is looking for a new running path!
Have a great day,