Iliotibial band syndrome

The iliotibial band is a connective tissue band that runs down the outer side of your thigh. It begins at a muscle in the hip, travels down the outside of your thigh and knee and then attaches to the shin bone. Iliotibial band syndrome occurs when this tissue becomes inflamed and results in pain on the outside of the knee.

Symptoms and causes of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome occurs due to the rubbing of the band over the bump on the thigh bone at the knee joint. This causes the tissue to become inflamed and thus results in pain and tenderness on the outside of the knee joint. It is most common in runners.

Causes of this condition include:

•    A tight iliotibial band
•    Tightness in pelvic, hip or leg muscles
•    Running on slopes
•    Running in shoes with wear on the outside of the heel
•    Difference in leg length

Diagnosis and treatment

Your physiotherapist will be able to diagnose and treat this condition. Initially treatment would involve rest from any aggravating activities and reduction of inflammation and pain. Your therapist may at this time use electrotherapeutic modalities, ice and massage. Taping may also be used to help to take load of the iliotibial band. Once the initial inflammation has settled down your therapist will begin deep tissue massage to release the tightness of the iliotibial band as well as stretching. Your therapist will also look at any other predisposing factors such as muscle tightness or weakness and treat these as appropriate, as well as assisting in your return to sport.