Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The Rundown on Iliotibial Band Syndrome

They do a lot of work our knees, and sometimes when we use them too much, an overuse injury like iliotibial band syndrome (Iliotibial band syndrome – ITBS) can crop up. Iliotibial band syndrome affects the connective tissues on the lateral or outer part of the knee. When those structures which run from the pelvic bone to the shinbone become tight, that’s when Iliotibial band syndrome flares up. The repetitive act of bending the knee, in activity such as running or cycling, is what causes the IT band to become tightened, which can cause the band to rub against the outside of the knee. As you’d expect, that rubbing action in Iliotibial band syndrome leads to swelling and pain. Most sufferers affected by Iliotibial band syndrome, notice the pain just above the knee joint or down the length of the lateral hip, thigh and the knee.

What are the Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

While symptoms will vary with each individual, some of the most obvious physical indication of iliotibial band syndrome happens during exercise. Some of those symptoms may include:

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Diagnosis

Iliotibial band syndrome is not something you can diagnose yourself. Because of the complex structure of the knee and its bones, joints and ligaments, a professional diagnosis is required. Sports podiatrists like the team at Sydney Podiatry specialise in identifying and treating iliotibial band syndrome so that you can reduce pain and return to your favourite sport.

“Iliotibial band syndrome is usually caused by biomechanical abnormalities, and that’s something we can assess with a patient by looking at their running style, posture and positioning of the feet during movement,” says sports podiatrist Karl Lockett.

The Sydney Podiatry team say it’s important to understand the location and pattern of the pain, the individual’s biomechanics and their recent activity to evaluate and treat a condition such as iliotibial band syndrome.  Most often, patients are active people who have increased their sporting regime, such as consistent running training in the lead up to a marathon.

Who Does Iliotibial Band Syndrome Strike?

 While overuse in many sports can lead to Iliotibial band syndrome, it’s a condition mostly experienced by runners. A recent study shows Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome (ITBS) affects 7 to 14 per cent of runners, although Iliotibial band syndrome is associated with a variety of activities including cycling, field sports, hockey, rowing, swimming, hiking, and basketball.

Typically, the pain of Iliotibial band syndrome worsens with the prolonged activity which is the time to seek professional help.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Treatment

While it helps to initially stop exercise, Iliotibial band syndrome treatment is the best long-term solution for this painful knee condition.  Iliotibial band syndrome treatment requires a professional approach which considers not just your activity levels, but the biomechanics of your body which may be contributing to the condition. Physiotherapy and corticosteroid injections may help in band syndrome treatment, but it’s also worth considering how a podiatrist could analyse the problem from a more holistic perspective. The use of orthotics to correct the structure or the alignment of the foot can be immensely beneficial in Iliotibial band syndrome treatment, as it goes to the heart of the problem. Podiatrists can perform a 3D gait analysis to diagnose the under lying factors that may have contributed to the condition

Some recent reports suggest that botox injections to the small muscle at the hip may be able to help in Iliotibial band syndrome treatment by reducing the muscle activity around the region. Surgical intervention is rarely required, especially if early Iliotibial band syndrome treatment is sought out to get you up and running again.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome


Sports podiatristsKarl Lockett | Rami Ghorra