Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is a common knee injury caused by inflammation of the distal portion of the iliotibial band (IT Band). The iliotibial band is a tough and strong fibrous band of tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh, attaching at the knee and is one of the main supports of the knee joint. One of its key functions is to prevent over-flexion or over-extension of the knee.
What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?
Iliotibial band Syndrome is a condition that results when distal part of iliotibial band undergoes chronic and persistent injury as a result of contact with lateral (outside) condyle of femur (thigh bone) or, in some cases, greater tuberosity of the femur which leads to chronic inflammatory changes in the tendon of iliotibial muscle. This syndrome is more commonly reported in females because of genetic and gender factors such as genu varum (bow-leggedness) and the pattern of rotation of tibia that weaken the power and pull of quadriceps muscle.
Signs and Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome:
Iliotibial Band Syndrome is a common knee injury in athletes who run long distances whether playing or training for their sport.
The classic signs and symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome include:
- pain along the lateral aspect of knee joint or, in some cases, at the hip joint or greater trochanter;
- aggravation of the pain with activities that involve both the knee and hip such as cycling or running;
- any motion that increases pressure on the heels increases the intensity of the pain, such as running down hills or descending stairs;
- occasional popping sound while running.
How does Iliotibial Band Syndrome develop?
The iliotibial band is subjected to excessive pressure during all activities involving the knee joint and hip joint. Overuse of this fibrous band during repetitive activities such as cycling or running leads to tissue damage, irritation and inflammation which, in turn, leads to a weakening of tendons and a limitation of activity due to pain and stiffness.
There appears to be a higher incidence of ITBS developing in individuals who have a longer stance phase while running, or in adolescents who undergo a rapid growth spurt.
Risk factors that increase the possibility of ITBS include:
- overuse injury as a result of repetitive and alternating flexion-extension movement of muscle at knee joint;
- lack of flexibility at the point of the tendon insertion into the knee which increases the stress and resistance on the tendon fibers resulting in ITBS;
- activities that involve excessive internal rotation of the tibia;
- genu varum;
- excessive pronation of the feet;
- sports activities such as long distance running, cycling; and tennis
- weak muscle groups that allow extra pressure and force on iliotibial band and tensor fascia lata.