On today’s episode, we pick the brain of IT band expert, Mark Alexander. Mark is the founder of BakPhysio, a Sports Physiotherapist with a background treating the Australian Olympic and Commonwealth Games Triathlon Teams, and a former lecturer/manager on the La Trobe University post-graduate Master of Sports Physiotherapy program.


In this episode, we tackle:

-Common misconceptions surrounding the IT band

-Possible causal theories of IT Band Friction Syndrome and does the cause effect treatment

-Intrinsic anatomical considerations and extrinsic effects on lateral knee pain

-Mark’s treatment approaches to lateral knee pain and “treat what you find” philosophy

-And much more!


We cover so much in this podcast and Mark helps dispels quite a few myths. The IT band is continuous with the entire circumferential fascia and it is not something you can target and lengthen. As Mark says, “you can have an impact on the myofascial attachments, but you’re not releasing the IT band. If a scalpel can’t do it, you can’t do it.”


We also learn some new effective ways to evaluate and treat patients with lateral knee pain.  Mark recommends finding the extrinsic cause through the patient history. Mark’s key question and realization: “Ask them what their activity level has been over the preceding 3-6 months. What? How long? Intensity? Think about a graph with force or load on the y axis and x axis is just time and plot over time what the load has been like. In 80-90% of patients there is a spike! 3 weeks earlier they started to really ramp it up…Their IT band cannot handle that spike and load.”


Remember, every patient in front of you is unique! Understand the load and volume being put on their IT band and as ardently put by Mark, “treat what you find, challenge your assumptions, and compare to the other side.” And for some guiding treatment principles, Mark suggests to, “Start with pyramidal foundation of stability and work up to strength.”


Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 5.46.40 PMMark was the Sports Physcial Therapist to the Australian Olympic Triathlon team at two Olympic Games and two Commonwealth Games supporting the team to win a total of 3 gold medals, 2 silvers and 3 bronze medals  (Manchester 2002; Athens 2004; Melbourne 2006; Beijing 2008).

Mark was also the Director and Senior lecturer of the La Trobe University’s post-graduate Master of Sports Physiotherapy program.

Mark is the author of the book titled “Beating Back Pain: A Sports Physiotherapists guide to Relief” and has presented at conferences internationally on knee and back pain prevention. 

Mark is also the founder of BakPhysio Pty Ltd, where he invented and patented BakBalls, a portable and affordable self-treatment device for back pain. BakBalls have been endorsed by the Australian Physiotherapy Association and are FDA approved Class 1 Medical device. Mark has also won two entrepreneurial business plan competitions:

–  2004 University of Queensland Enterprize Competition 1st Prize $100,000

–  2009 Melbourne University Entrepreneurial Challenge 1st Prize $23,000

You can find more from Mark on twitter and can reach him by email at mark.alexander@bakballs.com. If you want to learn more about bakballs, check out his company BakPhysio for more information!


***Make sure to connect with me on twitter to stay updated on all of the latest! If you would like to support the show, be sure to leave a rating and/or a review on iTunes!


Have a great week and stay Healthy Wealthy and Smart!


Xo Karen


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©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.
©2019 Karen Litzy Physical Therapy PLLC.