As Spring gradually arrives some of us are ditching our skis and snowshoes and lacing up our runners. Sometimes our bodies are not quite ready for the transition and we can develop pain in the lateral knee and hip- possibly Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome.

The iliotibial(IT) band is a superficial thickening of tissue on the outside of the thigh, extending from the outside of pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee on the tibia. The band functions to stabilize the outside of the knee. The gluteal muscles and tensor fascia lata muscle insert at the top of IT band. During running or walking the IT band will move from the front to the bac
k of the outside of the knee joint. At times the repeated rubbing of the IT band will cause a friction syndrome and inflammation to the outside of the knee.

Common causes of IT band friction syndrome are weakness of specific gluteal muscles meant to stabilize the pelvis and prevent the knee from excessively coming across the midline of the body while running. Other factors include excessive flattening of the foot or pronation, leg length discrepancy and tight muscles
in the front of the thigh and buttock region. Training errors such as running only on one side of the road as most roads are higher in the center and slope off on either side. This causes the pelvis to tilt to one side placing increased stress on the IT band.

Treatment for IT Band Friction Syndrome

  • Modified rest
  • Ice
  • Stretching of the IT band and gluteal muscles
  • Foam roller massage to the outside of the thigh
  • Strengthening of the gluteal and hip rotator muscles
  • Stretching of the heel cord muscles
  • Massage and or Intramuscular Stimulation
  • Possible need for orthotics
  • Running and walking analysis