Iliotibial band syndrome

September 1, 2015

By Anthony R. Marino, MD

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is caused by irritation of the iliotibial band, which is the muscle and tendon on the outside of your knee, as it rubs the outside of the distal femur.  It is caused by increasing mileage too quickly, changes in your downhill running, muscle imbalance around the hip and knee and discrepancies in leg length.

Treating Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome is known as a nagging, stubborn injury.  Taking a few days off of running while icing and using anti-inflammatories, should settle the irritation down. You can do some cross training during this time.  Decreasing your mileage should provide gradual improvement over time.

An evaluation by an orthopaedic sports medicine specialist and formal physical therapy are both very valuable in treating Iliotibial band syndrome.  Formal physical therapy including strengthening of the hip muscles, use of foam rollers and the incorporation of cross training, swimming pool running and elliptical trainers are all beneficial.