Pain in your knee? You might want to consider getting Botox. No, really. A new study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine looked at people who had a type of knee joint pain common in active people.
The researchers found that when a Botox-like substance was injected into the tensor fascia latae (TFL)—the muscle that runs along the side and front of the hip—and followed by three months of physiotherapy, 69 percent of subjects required no further medical intervention.
“The overlying problem is that the TFL is over active, and the back of the hip, the gluteus medius, is underactive, and that leads to a tight band on the outside of the thigh, rubbing on the knee, pulling of the knee cap over, and fat pad impingement,” explained one of the researchers, Dr. Sam Church, a knee surgeon at Fortius Clinic in London. “But it seems that while the hip muscles were turned off [due to the injection], the muscle they could use to keep steady, the gluteus medius, got stronger. And when the hip muscles came back on line, both muscles were parallel [in strength] rather than one being weak.”
So what does all of this mean? It means it’s time to beef up your backside—especially since people tend to be very weak in that area, and overactive elsewhere. (We are talking to you, runners and cyclist!) Also important, stretching out that iliotibial (IT) band, or thick tendon that runs from the hip to the knee, Church said.
Here’s why: Not only are IT band issues typically a result of weak glutes and hips, but when the IT band gets tight or inflamed, you’ll often feel pain in the knee. See the connection there?
To help rev up that rear and relieve some of the pressure on the IT Band, we got Chicago-based physical therapist David Reavy, owner of React Physical Therapy, who has worked with such elite athletes as Matt Forte, Dwyane Wade, and Swin Cash, to recommend a few moves. Work these into your routine ASAP, and your butt, hip, knee—OK, your entire body—will thank you.