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What is meant by Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome?

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What is meant by Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome?

The iliotibial (IT) Band is also referred to as the Maissiat’s band or iliotibial tract. It is a connective tissue that is present outside the leg connecting the shinbone, knee, and hip. The primary job of this tissue is to help the hip rotate, abduct, and extend. It can also be useful in assisting the knee side stabilise as well as move to protect the outer thigh.

The IT Band Syndrome is referred to as the common lateral knee injury. Due to overextension, repetitive flexion and over, the knee suffers from this injury. The syndrome is prominent when the IT band is inflamed, irritated, or tight. The tightness could result in friction while bending the knee. It can also be quite painful. Therefore, people sometimes refer to it as hip pain.

Causes of IT Band Syndrome

When there is excessive friction in the IT Band because of getting rubbed against the bone, IT Band Syndrome is commonly noticed. Repetitive movements are the primary cause of this condition, occurring primarily because of overuse. It could result in pain, irritation, and friction whenever exerting the knee. For some people, the causes aren’t obvious.

Runners and cyclists have to deal with this condition more often than others. It could also be a result of walking up and down the stairs repeatedly. Other reasons include sitting with bent knees for long hours or wearing high heels.

Some of the risk factors of IT Band Syndrome include:

  • Flat Feet
  • Bowlegs
  • Unbalanced leg lengths
  • Knee arthritis
  • Repetitive activities like cycling and running
  • Weak knee extensor, hip abductors, and knee flexors
  • Excessive sitting
  • Lack of flexibility or weakness
  • Running or walking on an uphill or track
  • Weak abdominal, gluteal, and hip muscles
  • Prior injury or pre-existing iliotibial band

People Who Suffer From IT Band Syndrome

The condition can affect any person. It is quite common is hikers, cyclists, and runners. Athletes who have to use their knees a lot such as weightlifters, soccer players, ad basketball players, are also prone to developing this condition.

Usually, individuals who are younger or exercise regularly have to deal with this condition. It often occurs when there are mistakes in the training.

Some of the training mistakes are:

  • Use of a poor form
  • Increase in training very quickly
  • Incorrect bicycle fitting
  • Training with the wrong surfaces
  • Wearing wrong or improper shoes
  • Not taking enough rest between workouts
  • Overstraining the body
  • Pushing the body past the limits
  • Not cooling down or warming up properly

Treatment of IT Band Syndrome

There is a range of treatments that help in managing the condition. A sports injury specialist is hired to rectify the condition. Some of the conservative treatments include:

  • Strengthening muscles, usually the hip muscles
  • Stretching daily
  • Resting and icing the affected region when the symptoms start showing
  • Taking drugs, like NSAIDs

When the condition is very severe, surgery or corticosteroid injections are preferred. Starting with conservative treatments and being consistent with them is highly recommended.

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