The iliotibial band, or IT band, is a band of tissue that runs from the pelvis to the top of the tibia (shin bone) along the outside of the thigh. Runners often battle IT band syndrome, but it can affect athletes in other sports as well. Friction between the iliotibial band and the lateral femoral epicondyle causes the pain.
Signs and symptoms of IT band syndrome of the knee
Typically you will notice pain on the outside of your knee while running, but it usually goes away after you finish the run. You might also feel a snapping sensation on the outside of your knee. Typically no acute event initiated the symptoms. Often your pain or snapping gets worse over time.
Treatment of IT band syndrome
Fortunately patients rarely need surgery. Often this problem resolves on its own. Anti-inflammatory medications and ice to the painful area can help. Working with a physical therapist for stretching exercises for the IT band can be helpful. Sometimes the physical therapist can determine whether orthotics worn in your shoes to decrease pressure on the outside of the knee might be helpful. If the symptoms continue despite anti-inflammatories, stretching, and ice, some doctors will inject cortisone into the affected area. Very rarely surgical treatment to release a small portion of the iliotibial band at this area is needed.
In this video, I discuss the common signs and symptoms of IT band syndrome, how doctors can tell if you have the problem and how you can overcome it.
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