Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band friction syndrome, or ITB syndrome, is a common overuse injury that affects the iliotibial band, which is a thick band of fibre tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh. This condition is common among runners and cyclists that is typically caused by the repetitive bending motion of the knee. These movements cause increased friction to the lateral femoral epicondyle and the Iliotibial band (ITB), leading to injury.

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There are multiple causes of ITB syndrome, including but not limited to: pre-existing weakness of the hip abductor muscles or repetitive stress on the lateral femoral epicondyle and iliotibial tract. This is typically significant in runners and cyclists because of the nature of these sports, which involve high intensity and repetitive knee flexion and extension movements during both cycling and running.

Risk factors:

  • Weakness of hip abductor muscles
  • Repetitive bending of the knee
  • Frequent cycling and running

Managing ITB Syndrome

To manage ITB Syndrome, it's essential to avoid further strain on the iliotibial band. The R.I.C.E. method can be done at home:

You can try the R.I.C.E method at home:

  • Rest the injury by cutting back on daily activities.
  • Ice the injury using an ice pack for 15 minutes several times a day calms down the damaged tissue and slows down blood flow to an injury, reducing swelling, inflammation and controlling the pain.
  • Compress using an elastic wrap or bandage.
  • Elevate the affected limb to reduce the swelling.

If your symptoms show no improvement and swelling persists after 7-10 days, it is advisable to seek professional help. Your podiatrist can provide an accurate diagnosis of your condition and recommend conservative approaches to effectively manage the symptoms.

Managing ITB Syndrome may include focal shockwave therapy to stimulate healing of the muscle and reduce pain. Additionally, customised foot orthotics may be prescribed to provide foot support and prevent further aggravation of the injured area and facilitate daily activities with a shortened recovery time.

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Common Symptoms

Burning pain at the level or just underneath the lateral femoral epicondyle
Pain when bending the knee
Pain with pressure
Pain while running , increasing in intensity while running downhill

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