The Iliotibial band is a fascia that connects to two muscles at the hip (Gluteus Maximus and Tensor Fasciae Latea) and runs down the outside of the leg.
It wraps around the outside of the knee and connects at the opposite end to the shin bone (tibia). The primary function of the IT band is to provide stability to the lateral knee. It also helps to maintain hip extension in standing and hip/knee flexion in running and walking. The Iliotibial band moves back and forth as the knee flexes, but is tense in both positions.
Iliotibial Band Syndrome is an inflammation of the fascia that rubs across the outside bottom end of the thigh bone (distal lateral femur). Common symptoms include pain on the outside of the knee, thigh or hip. Frequently experienced at approximately the same distance, the degree of discomfort can range from a dull ache to a sharp stabbing pain.
One of the most common contributing factors to Iliotibial Syndrome is excessive pronation. Pronation is a normal movement of the foot that allows the arch to flatten to a degree. If the foot is weak or tired and/or the footwear is not supportive, then the arch can flatten more than normal, resulting in excessive pronation. Excessive pronation causes rotation to occur at the knee. The friction created by repetitive pulling on the Iliotibial band eventually results in inflammation. Other contributing factors include age, lack of flexibility, sudden change in activity or mileage and other sudden changes in training. Anatomical abnormalities such as leg length discrepancies, bow leg and lateral knee ligament instability are also common causes. You can easily determine the degree to which your foot pronates by visiting any Dave’s location for a free gait analysis from one of our experienced team members.
Repetitive, excessive pronation is a common or leading contributor to many lower extremity, overuse injuries.
So what to do about it?
Supporting the foot with proper shoes and/or insoles, can prevent or help to eliminate the vast majority of stresses on the lower extremities. Most common footwear has more than enough cushion but very little support for the arch and heel. As with most lower leg issues, proper footwear with appropriate support is critical to the treatment of Iliotibial Band Syndrome. The solution for your injury may be a shoe with added stability or motion control. For casual wear sandals with contoured foot bed offer added stability and arch support. Another solution is to add a simple over the counter medical grade insole that provides appropriate support for the arch and heel. We recommend visiting one of our convenient locations for a professional shoe fitting and free gait analysis.
Stretching, strengthening and supporting, along with ice and rest, have been found to be effective treatment for these injuries. Stretching and strengthening of the Tensor Fasciae Latea, hamstring, hip abductor, quad and gluteal muscles is important for treatment and prevention of Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Physical Therapy including ultrasound, iontophoresis, and exercise play a very important role in recovery.
For additional information about Iliotibial Band Syndrome, stop by any one of our four convenient locations. Our experienced team of fit specialists is always on hand with footwear solutions and common sense advice.
As with any injury see you doctor if your symptoms worsen or do not improve. This material is presented for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice or treatment from a medical professional. When in doubt seek medical attention immediately.
We’ve learned a thing or two about injuries in the last forty years but that doesn’t make us doctors. This material is offered for informational use only and should not be taken as medical advice. Only you can decide when it’s time to talk to a doctor. Generally speaking any time an injury persists or worsens it’s time to seek help from a medical professional. Until then we’re happy to share our experience with you to use as you see fit.