What is Iliotibial band friction syndrome?

The Iliotibial band (ITB) is a fibrous band extending from the hip to the outside of the knee. It is involved in stabilising the hip and knee, particularly in activities such as running.

ITB friction syndrome occurs due to ITB rubbing over the lower end of the femur. Pain usually comes on from long distance running, especially when running down hills or stairs. It can happen suddenly or come on gradually over time. It usually presents as pain over the outside of the knee, which quite often hurts to touch. Pain is aggravated by repetitive bending of the knee and walking downstairs. There are a number of reasons for this to occur, including:

  • Weak hip stabilising muscles and poor core stability
  • Poor foot biomechanics e.gover-pronation
  • Tight muscles such as hamstrings, calves, gluteals, quadriceps and hip flexors
  • Overtraining
  • Running technique issues such as over-striding
  • Incorrect footwear

How is it treated?

Your Physiotherapist can help to find out the reason for the problem and that can be addressed. Initially treatment might involve icing and resting from aggravating activity. It may also be necessary to take anti-inflammatories. It is important to have this condition treated as soon as possible as it can take a long time to settle if the above causes are not addressed, meaning a prolonged period of rest from running.

Treatment typically will consist of soft tissue massage of leg muscles, dry needling plus and appropriate stretches and strengthening exercises. Your running technique may be assessed to identify and address any technique issues.

How long does it take to get better?

This can vary greatly depending on how long it is has been present and the underlying reasons for the onset of pain. Your Physiotherapist will be able to give you a prognosis based on the assessment findings.

If you are suffering from Iliotibial band friction syndrome, pop in and see Ergoworks Physiotherapy.

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