Iliotibial band syndrome causes pain on the exterior of the knee which is triggered by friction of the iliotibial band on the side of the knee. This condition is also called as ITB syndrome and oftentimes referred to as runner’s knee.
The symptoms of iliotibial band syndrome include pain on the exterior of the knee, specifically at or around the lateral epicondyle of the femur or bony bit on the exterior of the knee. This comes on at a certain time into a run and steadily worsens until the individual has to stop. After a period of rest, the pain might go only to return when the individual starts to run again. Take note that the pain is usually worsened by running, particularly downhill.
It is important to note that the pain can be felt when bending and straightening the knee which is worsened by pressing in at the side of the knee over the painful area. There might be tightness in the iliotibial band which crosses down the exterior of the thigh. The doctor might utilize Ober’s test for assessment. Take note that weakness in hip abduction or moving the leg out sideways is another usual sign. In addition, warm trigger points within the gluteal muscles or buttock area can be present.
There are certain factors that will make an individual prone to develop iliotibial band syndrome or runner’s knee. If the individual has a taut or loose IT band, he/she is prone to end up with this injury. Weakened hip muscles particularly the gluteus medius are also considered as a significant factor.
Poor foot biomechanics or over pronation can increase the risk of injury. In case the foot rolls in or flattens, the inferior leg rotates as well as the knee, thus increasing the chance of friction on the band. Other possible factors include running on hills, leg length difference or running on cambered roads.
There are various treatment options in managing iliotibial band syndrome.
Always remember that rest is vital in order to allow the irritated tendon to heal properly. If the individual continues to engage in running with iliotibial band syndrome, it will only worsen it. The individual can engage in other activities that will not worsen the pain such as cycling or swimming in order to maintain fitness.
You can apply an ice pack to minimize the inflammation and pain. The ice pack must be applied 10-15 minutes every hour until the pain is gone. Once the inflammation has subsided, the potential cause should be addressed such as a tight iliotibial band or the pain will surely return. If you want to learn more on how to effectively provide cold therapy, sign up for a first aid and CPR class. (Read here for more information about the classes offered).
The doctor will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDs. These are useful during the early acute stage to minimize the inflammation and pain.
Stretching exercises for the muscles on the exterior of the hip is vital. The stretching will help reduce the tightness of the muscles.