T Nation

IT Band Snap?


Strangest thing happened tonight....was on my last set of squats and all was well all workout, all reps very easy, deep, and clean....last set I was coming up and somethign snapped in my right lateral quad/IT band area and I launched the bar off my back as I crumbled so I didnt dislocate my shoulders or bust up my neck or back with the weight coming down on me....

thank God for safety rack pins, as I launched the weight and its way too much for the spotter to handle and he got out of the cage thank God...I laid there for a second and felt around for any deformity in my hamstring or quad, and moved my knee a little to make sure it was stable....all clear.....did some breathing and sat up....lots of tightness in my IT band....thing is I know from past experience I have an insane, insane pain tolerance, and I have dislocated joints, fractured bones, and ripped muscles off bones before and stayed calm and didnt feel a ton of pain initially....

so I sat there for a few minutes wondering if the pain was gonna hit but it didnt...a PT on staff was there and let me hobble into the room and put me on the table, she did some thinks to check my knee stability, stretched my quad and hamstring, all there no pain....just certain angles stretching the outside of my thigh IT band area made me feel something...and when she pushed arount the IT band it hurt...but it hurts like that when I get ART on it, which I do weekly because that IT band has always been a problem but primarily with one legged squats and the like, not regular squats...

So she said no blood, no deformity, everything looks stable, to ice it up and see my regular PT in the morning since I already have an appointment for another injury I rehab....then depending on how it feels tomorrow look into a sports med doctor....I thought ER or Urgent Care would be a waste, wait forever and this is not something they deal with....

the PT said maybe some muscle fibers where the IT band attaches to hip tore? I thought maybe since I know I have lots of scar tissue on that IT band, maybe some scar tissue ripped off and that could possibly be a good thing long term no???

So, whats up with something in the IT band area snapping during a moderately heavy squat even if it felt easy? Its a few hours later now and the pain is coming on, its right down the middle of the outside of my quad where I always imagined my IT band was, but she assured me it was still attached and would take something like a freak accident and tons of force to detach an IT band so not to worry.


initial diagnosis is torn lateral quad....



Could either be the quad or IT band, or even glutus medius.

I had the same happen a few years back. My leg gave out on a squat as I heard a ripping sound from my left leg. But, I had been having years of IT band pain as manifested by trochanteric bursitis and lateral knee pain. Mine showed up as sub cutaneous blood about a week later on my lower leg below Gerdy's tubercle (below lateral knee). I did not bother getting an MRI, as the recovery process was very quick for me. The day after the incident, I has limping and I had tremendous difficulty going down stairs. By the end of the week, this was gone. It took a few months to return to full squatting.

I did have one of the attending physician's I work with look at my TFL under ultrasound, and it does not look torn, so I suspect that if anything, I had a partial tear.

Without an MRI, you will not be able to tell for certaintly if anything tore. You may have some thigh pain with extending of the knee, as if you did tear your TFL, the blood products would be compressing against your lateral quad.

Certainly, without a physical exam, I am limited to what I can tell you, but I hope this helps.



Thanks brother...Im half asleep so wont even try to describe with the PT said after she did a half hour of different tests, and feeling around....she said glutes firing fine, hamstring firing fine, knee stable, IT band intact, said the outer most part of the vastis lateralis where it attaches to bone seems like it could have some tears...


Without actually examining you, my best advice is to see a sports medicine physician. If indeed, it is a quad tear, the outcome would be better with an operation sooner than later. Of course if it is not a complete quad tear or if it is the TFL, the physician may elect to do nothing.

The diagnostic study, in this case is an MRI.



You should also try to sort out what caused your problem in the first place. Is it secondary to a sudden increase in volume? Is there an issue with your exercise mechanics? i.e. feet too pronated or supinated, stance width, feet inversion/eversion, muscle imblance, strength asymetry. If you do not correct the generator of the problem, you are destined to have this repeat.



Im trying to get MRI today....my squat form is legit....
Thanks so much for your help....


Any specific MRI I should get...the lady scheduling me cant get me in until next week, then started rambling on about the hip area needing an injection? If they are checking my lateral quad, do they need to inject my hip with anything?!


You should not need contrast. Was the lady a physician? I think she is referring to intra-articular contrast for your hip joint - which you do NOT need.

The order should problably read - MRI bilateral hips and thighs- Re: hip and lateral thigh pain.

I am not doubting your technique. Each individual has differences in feet arches, tibial torsion, femoral anteversion, which make the ideal squat mechanics/stance/position unique to you. Rotating your feet a certain way may position your IT band such that the TFL and glute has to pull on the IT band. What I am suggesting is that there may be a better stance/position to minimize ITband tension across the greater trochanter.



Brother, if your an MD/PhD and competitive powerlifter who speaks this language as an athlete and clinician, I so wish you had an office near me!

Im gonna check before they do it, because the lady on the phone (whomever schedules it so I doubt a doc), was saying she needed to talk to the tech about if I needed an injection...which 90% of the MRIs Ive had I never get injections, and Ive had a ton...only my shoulder ones I think Ive been injected


Yes, I am an MD/PhD. I am finishing up residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and my PhD is in Neuroscience; I am starting a Pain Management Fellowship next July. I have been competing in PL since 1996.



Please keep me informed on your case. I feel that there is still much to be learned and characterized in sports/musculoskeletal medicine. There is more study in the field about endurance athletes and much to be studied in strength athletes.



Bro, I have a phone book thick of sports injuries starting in 8th grade until now from football, PL, MMA...lots of tears, fracturs, sprains, dislocations...and I was medically retired from a very athletic job a year ago from a whole boatload of medical issues caused by a minor squat injury which led to a nightmare story of 3 years of hell of doctors mistakes killing my hormones and immune system, 3 years forced layoff, and coming back slow recovery from being so beat down, plus scar tissue in all my old injuries from sitting around for 3 years being severly ill...

As for pain, interesting about your PhD....I have been using supplements, very progressive rebab, and neurofeedback meditation and biofeedback to deal with pain, spasms, and back when I first was retired the initial stress and anxiety from having to leave jobs I loved dearly...Im off all pain medications from using supplements, nutritional IVs, neuro/bio feedback meditation, and good sports medicine....was gaining some momentum and snap this happened...


MRI tomorrow....been getting light massage work daily, light therapy, ART surrounding areas, myofacial stretching, started vibration platform yesterday, still continuing upper body lifting and conditioning....crazy as it is, Ive never had PT folks this aggresive with stuff right after something snapping, its usually ice and pain killers a week or two then stim and ultra sound....getting this soft tissue work and stretching from day one, seriously makes it hurt less, feel better quicker, and unless its in my head healing faster than normal for something that hurt that bad initially and had that violent of a snap....


Ive had problems with ITBs for years. Hope this works out for ya man!


Well its two weeks since the snap....Im climbing steps, walking uphill treadmill, doing bodyweight squats on the floor and vibration platform, etc....

MRI results came in..partially torn IT band at hip insertion and quad tear same location, and another quad tear further down along the IT band...

Im kinda shocked, as I seem to be recovering way fast...and Im not as heahthy as I used to be back in the day when I tore other things...as well, I also am still recovering from a 3 year period of severe illness and mishaps with immune system and hormones....

yea crazy....folks say you cant tear an IT band, well they say mine had a partial tear....Im still wondering and guess there will be no way to ever really know, is that if the zipper popping feeling I felt up the side of my IT band when it happened, was scar tissue ripping and thats why the MRI is showing tears on IT band and quad in those locations.....


Did the MRI report make any comment about the Tensor Fascia Lata?

Both times my left leg gave out, I had a quick recovery. Keep stretching so when everything heals you do not heal in a contracted position.



All I know is they translated it to me as partial IT band tear at hip insertion, quad tear there too, quad tear along IT band further down, and showed a tear in the hamstring too that was more minor and didnt have fluid retention around it or swelling....I didnt feel a thing in my hammy so just wondered if that was an old injury showing up....