ITB syndrome stands for Iliotibial Band Syndrome. This is a common thigh injury generally associated with running. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running. The irritation usually occurs over the outside of the knee joint, at the lateral epicondyle. The iliotibial band crosses bone and muscle at this point; between these structures is a bursa, which should facilitate a smooth, gliding motion. However, when inflamed, the iliotibial band does not glide easily, and pain associated with movement is the result.
ITBS symptoms range from a stinging sensation just above the knee joint (on the outside of the knee or along the entire length of the iliotibial band) to swelling or thickening of the tissue at the point where the band moves over the femur. The pain may not occur immediately during activity, but may intensify over time, especially as the foot strikes the ground. Pain might persist after activity. Pain may also be present above and below the knee, where the ITB actually attaches to the tibia.
Who does this commonly affect?
Endurance athletes are prone to developing iliotibial band syndrome. Athletes who suddenly increase their level of activity, such as runners who increase their mileage, often develop iliotibial band syndrome. But other activities that can cause this are biking, hiking or weightlifting (especially when doing squats).
The iliotibial band can be rested, iced and compressed to reduce pain and inflammation, followed by stretching. Using a foam roller to loosen the iliotibial band can help prevent and treat ITBS. A compression wrap to mobilize the ITB where the tendon meets the knee is also key to reduce the inflammation. Another pain reliever would be a cortisone injection into the area, which is usually helpful, and it can also be curative. But for the more severe and treatment-resistant cases may require surgery to mobilize...