Iliotibial band syndrome, also known as iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBFS), is a condition most commonly seen in runners and cyclists or other athletes that require frequent bending and straightening of the knee. This movement can lead to friction of the iliotibial band over the side of the femur as the heel strikes the ground during running or at about 30 degrees of flexion. Symptoms usually consist of a burning pain on the outside of the knee that can radiate into the calf. Often pain will occur during activity but can persist for extended periods following.
The ITB is a long band of fascia that runs along the outside of the thigh. ITBFS is thought of as an overuse injury and a common cause is weakness of gluteals and other hip abductor muscles, chronic inflammation of the ITB bursa as well as poor knee tracking and control.
Common management techniques of ITBFS include rest, icing following aggravating activities such as running, strengthening of the hip abductors, stretching, soft tissue massage of the ITB, lateral quadriceps and gluteals, technique training and knee stability exercises. One great exercise of knee control, quadricep and gluteal strengthening and control is the pieterson step up. This exercise involves standing on a step and slowly lowering yourself down to touch the floor with the opposite leg, never completely weight bearing through that side.
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