Iliotibial band is a layer of connective tissue which starts as a muscle on the outside of the thigh, travels along the outside of the lower thigh and becomes thinner and ultimately attaches to the outside portion of the upper leg (tibia). Inflammation of this tissue at the area where it crosses the outer aspect of the lower thigh (femur) is called IT Band Syndrome.
IT Band Syndrome is caused by friction of the IT Band against the outer and lower part of the thigh bone (femur) and can become a debilitating condition specially for athletes.
There are several conditions which may lead or contribute to development of the IT Band Syndrome:
- Tight and inflexible IT Band and muscles in the hip, pelvis and legs.
- Running with worn out shoes, especially on the outside of the heel.
- Running on slopes.
Pain and or burning sensation on the outside of the knee anywhere from four inches above the joint line to the area on the upper and outer side of the leg bone (tibia).
Generally, your physician after examining you and getting a history can make the diagnosis. In most situation this is a soft tissue problem and nothing will show on X-Ray.
One or combination of the followings will be utilized to treat this condition:
- Rest and activity modification for the prescribed period of time by your physician.
- Ice application or ice rub.
- Anti-inflammatory medications which will be prescribed by your doctor, this may be either steroidal or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.
- Flexibility and stretching exercises.
- Physical therapy and usage of modalities such as ultrasound.
- Injection of corticosteroid into the inflamed area.
- Rarely surgery will become necessary.
The best way will be adequate warm up and stretching before any sporting activity. This condition is common in runners and it is extremely important that they do the proper warm up and stretching before any running activity.