ITB or iliotibial band syndrome is a knee injury commonly experienced by people who employ cycling, running, weight-lifting or hiking. It involves the continuous rubbing of the iliotibial band on the femur along with continuous flexion and extension of the knees leading to inflammation of the band, but your Wesley Chapel chiropractor may be able to help.

The IT band is located on the lateral aspect of each thigh extending from the outside portion of the hip bone up to the knee. When running, the IT band moves into the front portion of the femur and acts as an important band of tissue to stabilize the knee during activities involving the legs.

Symptoms of ITB Syndrome

The injury to the iliotibial band leads to local inflammation of the tissue giving rise to the various symptoms such as:

  • Pain- Pain is a common symptom of ITB syndrome and it is characterized as a stinging sensation above the affected knee. The pain is also felt on the entire length of the IT band extending from the hips to the knee area. Pain is aggravated when moving the legs especially in times when the foot strikes the ground. The pain starts as a mild ache early in the day and intensifies as the knees work continuously. In some people, the pain may also be felt along the tibia or the lower leg.
  • Swelling of the IT band- The IT band also swells and thickens during IT band syndrome.

The range of motion is rarely affected; however, pain may limit the person from running or walking normally.

Causes of ITB Syndrome

IT band syndrome is usually the result of overuse injury of the tissue from the following activities:

  • Running up-hill and down-hill
  • Running on banked surfaces such as road shoulders
  • Running up and down the stairs
  • Cycling with the toes turned inward
  • Poor warm up and cool down exercises

Aside from the above activities, ITB syndrome can also develop from anatomical disorders of the leg such as:

  • Bowlegs
  • Uneven length of the legs
  • Intense striking of the foot
  • Overpronation and underpronation of the foot
  • Flat foot and high foot arches

Moreover, it can also result from poor conditioning of the leg structures such as weak muscles on the hips and legs giving more tension to the IT band when running.

Treatments of ITB Syndrome

When you suffer from IT band syndrome, certain activities should be avoided as it can worsen the condition leading to tearing of the IT band. Running, rowing, stair climbing, squatting, skating, wrestling, cycling, dancing, gymnastics and similar activities should be avoided. Also, never attempt to run through your pain because it may cause more severe IT band injury.

The basic management for an ITB syndrome is RICE or rest, icing, compression and elevation. With rest, an active rest should be employed by avoiding the above activities, but making sure that low-impact activities such as walking still be employed to avoid joint stiffness. Ice packs are placed to relieve inflammation and a support bandage is placed to prevent further injury to the IT band. Elevating the affected leg is also important to improve circulation to the IT band. Foam rollers can also be used to loosen tightness on the IT band.

Orthopedic physicians may also prescribe the use of orthotics to support the foot and relieve tension on the IT band.

IT band syndrome is easily preventable. Make sure to employ correct ergonomics when employing high-impact activities and use supportive shoes when running.