Date of Award
Master of Science
Timothy R. Derrick
Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome is a common running injury that has been the cause of much pain in the active population. The ITB originates on the pelvis, crosses the hip joint, travels along the lateral thigh and inserts on the lateral, proximal tibia and fibula. Irritation and pain occur when there is excessive friction of the ITB as it crosses the lateral femoral condyle in the region of the knee joint. It has been shown that runners that have ITB syndrome tend to run with a narrower step width. This narrower step width would presumably stretch the ITB to a greater extent and increase the potential for ITB syndrome. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that strain and rate of strain development in the ITB would increase as the step width becomes narrower.
Fifteen recreational or competitive runners ran at their preferred 5k running pace. Each subject ran at their preferred step width, their preferred step width +5% of their leg length and their preferred step width -5% of their leg length.
Results showed that there was a significant difference in strain across all conditions (p < .0001). There was an increase in strain rate across all conditions with the highest strain rate in the narrow running condition and the lowest strain rate in the wide running condition but only the narrow and wide (p = .003) and wide and normal (p = .016) comparisons were significant.
There was a relationship between a runner's step width and the strain on the ITB. Results indicated that there may be a benefit to widening the step width in runners prone to ITB syndrome. Further analysis should be conducted to insure that this suggested running style does not cause abnormal stresses or anatomical alignments that could induce injury. Future research should examine step width and strain while running during conditions known to be harmful to the ITB such as downhill running.
Campbell, Samuel, "the effect of step width on iliotibial band strain" (2009). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 11119.