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Effect of IT Band Release surgery... getting the biceps femoris back "online"
In 2002 I had double knee surgery (yes both knees on the same day). They did an IT Band Release along with a general clean up of cartilage on both knees. Six months after I had surgery, IT Band Release Surgery was discontinued at the sports medicine clinic I went to. It was discontinued because it was deemed to be ineffective and even detrimental. I was a ballet dancer with chronically sore knees and with no understanding of anatomy. When the DR told me this was my best option for my knees I signed up not knowing that the surgery was controversial.

Here is an article about ITB Release Surgery
The main complaint with the surgery is that surgical lengthening the IT Band causes an imbalance in the knee in which there is more pressure on the medial (inside) meniscus and ligaments.

Some 16 years later I am unraveling the mystery of how my body works and I am contemplating the effects of this surgery.

Any pain I do get in my knees currently is on the medial side. The picture I attached to this post, that is from the above article, gives a clear visual as to how this might play out.

I have to say that in general since starting training in the Axis Syllabus, the pain in my knees has gone down by about 80 to 90%. This has been a life changer for me and revitalized my dancing and teaching practice and enabled me to chase my kids!  Figuring out the pain that still lingers in my knees is a project in aging well and in managing my knees in a dance career.… It is not a crisis.

So in unraveling the mystery…. My hamstring seems to have an imbalance in which semitendinosus, semimembranosus fire super strong and quick and my biceps femoris is extremely weak. This is unusual for an ex-ballerina as the level of turnout involved in ballet usually creates a muscle imbalance in the other direction with biceps femoris taking on a bigger workload.

My osteopath thinks that the trauma to the lateral side of my leg caused by the IT Band Release surgery caused the biceps femoris to go “offline.” By "offline" I refer to a challenge in getting it to fire when it is supposed to (i.e for example on heel strike in walking) and a general state of weakness in the muscle. The physiotherapy approach post surgery focused on parallel alignment of the legs and feet in all physio-exercises, walking and stair climbing. This, my osteopath, feels lacked the uses of external rotation (turn-out) that would have helped my biceps femoris come back "online".

The good news is I can see if strengthening my biceps femoris and getting it back “online” might shift pressure off the medial side of my knees.

Any comments, advice or shared experiences are much appreciated.

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Hi Kathleen,
Do you have a protocol for strengthening the BF?

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