Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome
The iliotibial band is a thick tendon-like portion of another muscle called the tensor fasciae latae. This band passes down the outside of the thigh and inserts just below the knee. The main problem occurs when the tensor fasciae latae muscle and iliotibial band become tight. This causes the tendon to pull the knee joint out of alignment and rub against the outside of the knee, which results in inflammation and pain.
The two main causes are “overload” and “biomechanical errors.”
Overload on the ITB can be caused by a number of things. They include:
- Exercising on uneven ground;
- Beginning an exercise program after a long lay-off period;
- Increasing exercise intensity or duration too quickly;
- Exercising in worn out or ill-fitting shoes; and
- Excessive uphill or downhill running.
Biomechanical errors include:
- Tight, stiff muscles in the leg;
- Muscle imbalances;
- Foot structure problems such as flat feet; and
- Gait, or running style problems such as pronation.
- Pull foot up to back of buttocks. Cross the uninjured leg over the injured leg and push down, hold for 30 seconds.
- Cross injured leg behind and lean towards the uninjured side. This stretch is best performed with arms over the head, creating a “bow” from ankle to hand on the injured side (unlike how it is depicted).
- Cross injured leg over the uninjured side and pull the leg as close to your chest as possible.