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Iliotibial Band Syndrome or Runners Knee: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Iliotibial band syndrome is a painful condition of the knee caused when the iliotibial tendon becomes inflamed. This irritation or inflammation occurs when the iliotibial tendon rubs against the lateral femoral condyle.

Iliotibial band syndrome is also known as “runner’s knee,” “IT band syndrome” (ITBS or ITBFS). This commonly occurs due to activities, which involve repeated flexion and extension of the knee such as running, cycling, hiking and weight-lifting. This syndrome can also occur with decreased flexibility of the ITB, which causes an increase in tension of the ITB.[1]

Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome or Runners Knee:

  • Pain in the external area of the knee.
  • Stiffness felt in the iliotibial band.
  • Increased pain during activities such as running, cycling.
  • Flexion or extension of the knee causes pain and pain increases when the area of the knee over the tender part is pressed.
  • Decrease in strength during hip abduction.
  • There may be painful trigger points in the gluteal area.[2]

Causes of Iliotibial Band Syndrome or Runners Knee:

Iliotibial Band Syndrome or Runners Knee may be caused due to the leg length discrepancy

  • Congenitally tight or wide IT band.
  • Hip muscles which are weak.
  • Presence of trigger points in the IT band and gluteal muscles.
  • Over pronation and overuse.
  • Extreme running.
  • Discrepancy in the leg length.[3]

Treatment of Iliotibial Band Syndrome or Runners Knee:

  • Conservative treatment such as rest and avoiding activities which cause pain, e.g. running.
  • Ice packs to reduce inflammation.
  • Stretching the Iliotibial band.
  • Massaging the tender area helps in reducing ITB tightness.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAID‘s (ibuprofen).
  • Myofascial release techniques and dry-needling techniques are also effective.
  • Electrotherapeutic treatment techniques like TENS or ultrasound help in reducing the pain and inflammation.
  • Corticosteroid injection can be given into the area of irritation for pain relief.
  • Consulting a sports injury specialist.[4] [5] [6]


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 4, 2022

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