Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Summary of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The Iliotibial band runs from the outer hip and thigh down to below the knee, stabilising the thigh bone during weight-bearing activities such as running or walking. It is prone to repetitive frictional movements as it moves over the end of the thigh bone which can result in inflammation and pain.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome FAQ's

The iliotibial band is a strong band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the leg, attaching muscles in the buttock area to the outside edge of the shine bone. It is responsible for keeping the thigh bone stable when engaging in weight bearing activities, and straightens and stabilises the knee in relation to the thigh. If the band becomes irritated and inflamed it can result in pain and the condition iliotibial band syndrome.

Symptoms are mainly associated with pain on the outside of the knee or lower thigh, which intensifies when walking, running, descending stairs or standing up. There is also often a degree of tenderness and swelling around the knee and even the outside of the hip.

Recovery time depends on the severity of the issue, however most recover within 6-8 weeks.

The band moves in time with knee extensions, rubbing against the bony part of the thigh bone with the action. The rubbing causes friction which can develop into inflammation with overactivity. This overactivity can be identified as over-exercise such as running or cycling, or can otherwise be caused by outside factors such as a difference in leg length, tightening of the muscles, weakening of the band, or poor training habits in general.

The factors causing the problem need to be identified before treatment is prescribed, often with a recommendation to reduce activities that provoke the injury. You may receive an exercise program that stretches the band, and will likely engage in some kind of massage therapy to loosen the band’s tension. Anti-inflammatory medication may also be recommended.

This syndrome is identified by the tightening of the band and subsequent pressure on the muscles. There may often be weakness in areas which thus need to be strengthened, both to aid recovery and ease the pain experienced. The right exercises will also reduce the risk of reoccurrence.


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