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Runner's Knee

Everything You Need to Know About Iliotibial Band Syndrome

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?


Iliotibial band syndrome is a painful knee injury caused by tightness or inflammation of the iliotibial band of connective tissue that extends from the outside of the hip to the knee. This injury is also sometimes referred to as IT band syndrome, ITBS, or ITB syndrome, and is one of several conditions commonly referenced as runner’s knee. Runners, cyclists, soccer players, and others who suffer these injuries are often prevented from engaging in those activities for several weeks or even months.

The iliotibial band is designed to facilitate movement in the knee joint and provides stability in the knee. Overuse of impact injury in that band can inhibit its normal function, cause pain and swelling, and reduce mobility and range of motion.

What Causes IT Band Syndrome?


This syndrome is typically caused when the leg repeatedly turns inward, due to excessive running, downhill walking or running, and other activities. These activities can cause the IT band to tighten and rub against the bone. That, in turn, can cause irritation and inflammation in the IT band and the fluid-filled bursa in the knee that are designed to help the band smoothly move over the knee. Other factors that can contribute to this injury include:

  • Overexertion and failing to properly rest between activity sessions
  • Not stretching and warming up prior to exercise
  • Wearing old or uneven shoes
  • Knee arthritis
  • Rotating your foot or leg inward during running or walking
  • Weak glutes, hips, or abs

What are the Symptoms of IT Band Syndrome?


For most patients, the most noticeable symptoms are aches and pains on the outside of the knee, above the knee joint. This pain can get progressively worse if you ignore it. Other symptoms may include:

  • Pain extending up into the thigh or down into the upper calf
  • Redness and warmer skin on the outside part of the knee
  • Burning and tenderness in the IT band area
  • A snapping or popping feeling on the outside of your knee

Patients experiencing any of these symptoms should refrain from physical activity that uses the knee and consult a medical professional to prevent additional damage to the knee and IT band.

Osteopathic Treatment of IT Band Syndrome


Fortunately, osteopathic treatment can help you recover from IT band syndrome and return to normal activity. While the condition will usually repair itself in time, osteopathic care can be an effective way to expedite the healing, improve mobility, reduce pain and restore lost quality of life.

IT band treatment can include IT band syndrome exercises, IT band syndrome stretches, and a regimen of ice pack applications, elevation of the knee, and other common therapeutic techniques. Osteopathic care can enhance those strategies by using manual manipulation, and other techniques that relax tight tissue, improve blood flow, and promote the body’s natural healing processes.

Preventing IT Band Injuries


To avoid treatment for IT band injuries, it is important to focus on prevention. Common prevention strategies can include:

  • Train smartly. That means focusing on proper technique and increasing running distance or other milestones incrementally.
  • Warm up before any activities that rely on repetitive knee movements.
  • Stretch before and after exercise
  • Strengthen your glute, thighs, abdomen, and lower back to reduce the load on your IT band
  • Wear proper-fitting shoes that are in good condition
  • Run on flat pavement

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Contact Us Today

If you are suffering from any of the symptoms of IT band syndrome, contact Leonid Tafler, D.O. today. We will work with you to schedule an appointment that is convenient for you, provide an examination and diagnosis, and develop an osteopathic treatment plan that reduces your pain, improves mobility, and gets you back on the path to a healthier and more satisfying lifestyle.

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Patient's Guide to MUA

Everything You Need To Know About Osteopathic Manipulation Under Anesthesia

Download and subscribe for help and advise on osteopathic care and pain relief options, starting with this guide. Unsubscribe with one click at any time.

Everything you need to know about MUA - Patient guide