Effects of Running Speeds and Exhaustion on Iliotibial Band Strain during Running

Shane Fei Chen, Yan Wang, Fangbo Bing, Ming Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Background: Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is one of the most prevalent overuse injuries in runners. The strain rate in the iliotibial band (ITB) has been theorized to be the primary causative factor in the development of ITBS. Running speed and exhaustion might lead to an alteration in the biomechanics that influence the strain rate in the iliotibial band. Objectives: To identify how exhaustion states and running speeds affect the ITB strain and strain rate. Methods: A total of 26 healthy runners (including 16 males and 10 females) ran at a normal preferred speed and a fast speed. Then, participants performed a 30 min exhaustive treadmill run at a self-selected speed. Afterward, participants were required to run at similar speeds to those of the pre-exhaustion state. Results: Both the exhaustion and running speeds were revealed to have significant influences on the ITB strain rate. After exhaustion, an increase of approximately 3% in the ITB strain rate was observed for both the normal speed (p = 0.001) and the fast speed (p = 0.008). Additionally, a rapid increase in the running speed could lead to an increase in the ITB strain rate for both the pre- (9.71%, p = 0.000) and post-exhaustion (9.87%, p = 0.000) states. Conclusions: It should be noted that an exhaustion state could lead to an increase in the ITB strain rate. In addition, a rapid increase in running speed might cause a higher ITB strain rate, which is proposed to be the primary cause of ITBS. The risk of injury should also be considered due to the rapid increase in the training load involved. Running at a normal speed in a non-exhaustive state might be beneficial for the prevention and treatment of ITBS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number417
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023


  • biomechanics
  • exhaustion
  • iliotibial band
  • running speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering


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