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Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

Knee Surgeons Helping You Get on Your Feet Again

The iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) causes pain on the outside of the knee and is particularly common in runners. The IT band is a thick tissue band that starts at the pelvis, runs down the outside of the thigh and crosses the knee, eventually attaching to the top part of the main shinbone (tibia).

Do I Have IT Band Syndrome?

IT Band Syndrome is caused by overuse of the connective tissues on the outer thigh and knee, running along the lateral outside aspect of the thigh.

Symptoms of IT Band Syndromeinclude:

  • Pain on the knee’s lateral side and inflammation.
  • Hearing a popping or snapping sound at the knee
  • The pain may radiate along the IT band to the outside of the thigh up through the hip.

Causes of IT Band Syndrome

Causes of IT Band Syndrome include having flat feet, using incorrect or overused running shoes, increasing your workout intensity too rapidly, poor running form, or transitioning too quickly from working out on a treadmill versus running outside.

IT band syndrome comes from overuse of the knee joint which puts stress on the connective tissues on the outer part of the knee/thigh.

It is a very common cause of lateral knee pain among long-distance runners and cyclists, and those who suffer from it may notice lack of stability and a loss of range of motion in their affected knee(s). Other athletes may sustain an IT band injury from any exercise that requires repeated squatting.

A combination of issues can cause IT band syndrome, including:

  • Hereditary anatomical issues, such as different-length of the legs, an abnormal pelvic tilt, or bowed legs (genu varum)
  • Poor training habits
  • Lack of muscle flexibility
  • Mechanical imbalances in other areas of the body, particularly those involving the lower back, pelvis, and hips

Diagnosing IT Band Syndrome

Your knee doctor will perform a physical examination of your knee and take into account your health history. The exam will include testing the range of motion of your knee, strength, and checking for knee tenderness. Your knee surgeon may need imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to confirm a diagnosis and to rule out other causes of knee pain such as osteoarthritis.

IT Band Syndrome Treatment

In some cases, IT Band Syndrome can be prevented, but your knee surgeon may recommend the following strategies to help relieve your symptoms.

Treatments Include:

  • Resting the knee
  • Icing the outside of your knee
  • Taking anti-inflammatory medications
  • Corticosteroid / Cortisone Injections
  • Physical Therapy stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Avoid high impact activities like running and cycling
  • Making changes to your equipment, like lowering your bike seat or replacing your running shoes regularly
  • Working with a sports performance specialist to improve your running form

When Should I See a Knee Surgeon to Treat My IT Band Syndrome?

If your symptoms do not improve after several weeks of following the recommended treatments for IT Band Syndrome, plan to see a knee surgeon at Hoag Orthopedic Institute to ensure there isn’t a more serious underlying condition causing your knee pain.

Ready to learn more about how we can help you with iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome? Contact Hoag Orthopedic Institute at (855) 999-4641 today.

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