advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Graston Technique: Pain in the Thigh?

A friend has recommended something called the Graston Technique to help with IT Band pain that I'm dealing with as a result of running. Do you think this is a useful treatment for soft tissue pain?

A
Answer (Published 5/4/2012)

The IT (iliotibial) band is a group of tough fibers that stretches along the outside of the thighs. It helps stabilize you when you're running and can become inflamed and irritated by overuse. The pain this causes usually is felt on the outer knee or the lower part of the thigh and feels worse when you're walking up or down stairs or getting out of a car.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness for Your Healthy Body - It's the journey not the destination. Make each day count, with an outlook that is both serene and inspired. Dr. Weil's new website, SpontaneousHappiness.com, has everything you need to get on the path to optimal well-being including recipes, checklists and exclusive tools to track your walking. Learn more, start your 10-day free trial now.

You're most likely to develop IT band pain if you run on only one side of the road. When you do this, the foot that is on the outside slope of the road is often lower than the other foot, a position that tilts the pelvis and stresses the IT band. Other possible causes are excessive pronation (the way your ankle rolls inward and your foot rolls outward when you land on it while running), a discrepancy in the length of your legs (one is slightly longer than the other), a lateral pelvic tilt (one side of the pelvis is lower than the other), bowed legs, and tight gluteal (buttocks) muscles or tight quadriceps (the big muscles on the front of the thigh).

The Graston Technique® is an unproven method of treating injuries by breaking down scar tissue that causes pain. Practitioners use six stainless steel instruments instead of their hands to find the scar tissue. In essence, the technique involves further damaging the affected soft tissue in the belief that this will promote healing. This method is an offshoot of "soft tissue mobilization," a physical therapy technique for which there is sparse supporting evidence.

The best research we have for demonstrating the efficacy of the Graston Technique comes from a study in mice that showed some benefits in terms of new tissue formation, but no effects on healing. A search of the medical literature for "Graston" yielded 13 articles, mostly case reports, which describe of the use of the technique on one or more patients. These are not studies - the authors are not comparing one treatment method against another to learn whether a new approach works better than an old one, or better than none at all. One of the articles described the design of a proposed trial of the Graston Technique; another was a pilot study comparing the Graston Technique to manual soft tissue mobilization in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome: it concluded that both methods worked.

If I were you, I would stay away from the Graston Technique. In my view, it lacks solid scientific support demonstrating its safety and effectiveness. The standard treatment for IT band pain is rest, ice, elevation and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. If those methods don't help, you may want to try physical therapy and learn specific stretches to relieve pain in this area. The practitioner may assess your running form and recommend particular shoes that could help correct any imbalances. The best approach may be to enlist the help of a knowledgeable sports therapist to figure out what caused the problem in your case so you can avoid further episodes.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here