Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome

Iliotibial band friction syndrome, or “ITB syndrome” is widely accepted as one of the most common lower limb overuse injuries among runners and cyclists. The iliotibial band is a dense, fibrous tissue that serves as a point of connection between muscles of the hip and thigh and the knee joint. Excessive bending and straightening of the knee (i.e. during running or cycling) can result in high amounts of friction near the band’s attachment at the outside of the knee or less commonly, the hip. This may cause inflammation of various structures in the affected area, manifesting as pain most commonly felt at the front, outer aspect of the knee, just beside the kneecap. If the problem is at the hip, the outside of hip may be painful to touch. Oftentimes pain is experienced at a particular distance or time during exercise but if left untreated, this condition can lead to persistent problems and affect normal day-to-day activities. Predisposition to ITB syndrome can include muscle strength and/or length imbalances of the hip and knee, poor running style, and incorrect bicycle set-up.  A physiotherapist can identify which factor is causing your pain and can determine appropriate intervention to relieve the symptoms and prevent pain from coming back in the future.

By Jake Bagley

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