Jock Doc

Warm up your IT band before running, walking or cycling

Nadia Bisio, 34, right, stretches her legs by placing them against a fence after completing the Miami Half Marathon on Jan. 25, 2015. Proper stretching is key to avoiding IT muscle injuries.
Nadia Bisio, 34, right, stretches her legs by placing them against a fence after completing the Miami Half Marathon on Jan. 25, 2015. Proper stretching is key to avoiding IT muscle injuries. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Q. I have had a burning pain on the outside part of my left knee. Sometimes it radiates up to my outside thigh and sometimes below the knee. I do not recall injuring it. It bothers me more after I do spin classes or walk on the treadmill. Resting it did not make it go away, and I wonder what I should do.

A. There is a muscle that starts on the outside part of the pelvis “ilium” and runs down the outside part of the thigh, attaching just below the outside part of the knee. This band-like muscle is known as the iliotibial band. If this muscle is tight, it can rub on the outside part of the hip or outside part of the knee.

Patients can complain of pain, a burning sensation, or even snapping where this muscle runs over the bony prominences. Although this can happen in any sport, it is particularly common in cycling sports and running. If there is limited range of motion in the hip or knee due to arthritis, this also can predispose the athlete to this condition.

I recommend you seen an orthopedic surgeon who will likely evaluate your hip, thigh and knee. Usually, this condition responds well to anti-inflammatory medication and a physical therapy program aimed at improving your flexibility with an associated conditioning program. Proper warm-up and stretching prior to and after your cycling activity, workouts or walking can decrease the risk of this condition occurring.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to HarlanS@baptisthealth.net

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