Sports Medicine and Exercise Information  

Dr. Allan Mishra | Knee Pain Diagnosis



Diagnosis

ILIOTIBIAL BAND FRICTION SYNDROME


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Definition Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome is an overuse problem of a tight piece of tissue on the outside part of the knee.
Details The Iliotibial (IT) band is a long piece of muscle and tendon that starts around the hip and ends just below the knee. When the knee bends and straightens, this band can snap across the outside part of the knee.

Anatomy of the Iliotibial Band
Causes Repetitive snapping of the IT band can cause friction and lead to inflammation in the area. This can lead to scarring and subsequent tightness of the IT Band. This disorder is common in long distance runners and cyclists. Occasionally, hiking especially in rough terrain can be a cause. An abnormal foot position (hyperpronation) can also be a contributing factor.
Diagnosis IT Band Friction syndrome typically causes pain on the outside part of the knee. The area is also usually quite tender to the touch. Tightness of the IT band can be found by your physician on a careful physical examination. Usually, no x-rays or other tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis. Occasionally, however, an MRI is very useful in evaluating the severity of the inflammation.

MRI of IT Band Inflammation
Treatment RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) is the initial treatment.

It is especially important to avoid any activity that makes the pain worse. A stretching program coupled with anti-inflammatory medication is typically also recommended. Orthotics (devices used to correct abnormal foot positions) or modification of running technique may also be needed. Steroid injections may also be used. Very rarely, surgery is required.

Iliotibial Band Stretch Example
Prevention

Stretching of the IT Band prior to any activity
Maintaining flexibility and strength of all leg muscles


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