Iliotibial Band Syndrome – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options

Iliotibial band or IT band is the long tendon that runs from the top of pelvis (ilium) to down to the tibia along the lateral thigh. The band connects the hip flexor and glute muscle (butt) to the outside of tibia, tapering into the knee joint stabilising the knee-hip relationship. And this long tendon is responsible for most of your intensive and explosive moments during jumping, climbing, running or sprinting.

What Causes Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

The repetitive and explosive movements with poor biomechanics and poor training meet the muscular imbalances in the lower body, the IT band bears the brunt by tightening and manifesting pain, discomfort or swelling in the outer knee. It starts as mild pain, intensifies when left untreated and sometime may need surgery for treatment. Iliotibial Band Syndrome is commonly seen in cyclists, runners, soccer players, basketball players, hockey players, and rowers.

Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome:

The most common symptom of IT Band Syndrome is the pain in the outer knee during the physical activities that get worse every time you return the activity. The inflammation of the band occurs, irritating & rubbing across the knee causing clicking sensation and sometimes even redness and warmth. Over time, the pain may intensify further causing swelling on the outside of the knee. Tenderness in the knee and buttocks, pain when descending stairs or raining from a seated position are other symptoms of IBS. Medical history, physical exam and rarely, imaging studies are used by knee specialists to diagnose this painful condition.

 Treatment Options for Iliotibial Band Syndrome:

Unlike knee replacement surgery or hip replacement surgery, the treatment options for IBS are very simple and straight forward. The RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, and Compression & Elevation) is one of the common medical treatments employed for initial and immediate treatment of Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Medications can also help relieve the pain in some cases. And physical therapy sessions play a crucial role in strengthening the muscle and rectifying the biomechanical errors.

Surgery for Iliotibial Band Syndrome is considered if the pain persists despite resorting to non-surgical options for at least 6 months. Surgery for Iliotibial Band Syndrome is rarely recommended as most of the IBS cases are resolved with non-surgical options only. Post-operative care is one of the most important aspects of this surgery process that impact the success rate and recovery. If you are suffering from Iliotibial Band Syndrome, you need the help of an experienced knee specialist and knee replacement surgeon with a good track record. If you are in Mumbai, we suggest you consult Mumbai’s Best Knee Replacement Surgeon Dr. Niraj Vora to help you treat your Iliotibial Band Syndrome.