Iliotibial Band Syndrome, commonly referred to as IT Band Syndrome, is a painful and common overuse injury that affects the iliotibial band, a thick band of connective tissue running along the outside of the thigh. It is often associated with activities that involve repetitive knee flexion and extension, such as running and cycling. If you suspect you have IT Band Syndrome, here are ten common signs and symptoms to help you identify the condition.

1. Outer Knee Pain

The most typical and noticeable symptom of IT Band Syndrome is pain on the outer side of the knee. The pain can range from mild discomfort to sharp and intense pain, especially when you bend or extend your knee.

2. Pain Aggravated by Activity

IT Band Syndrome pain is often exacerbated during physical activity, particularly activities that involve repetitive knee movement, such as running or cycling. You may notice the pain intensifying with each step or pedal stroke.

3. Swelling or Inflammation

Some individuals with IT Band Syndrome may experience swelling or inflammation around the affected knee. The swelling is typically localized to the outer side of the knee.

4. Pain Radiating Up or Down

In some cases, the pain associated with IT Band Syndrome may radiate up the thigh or down toward the shin. This can make it difficult to pinpoint the exact source of the pain, but it often centers around the outer knee area.

5. Tender to the Touch

The outer side of the knee may be tender to the touch. If you press along the iliotibial band, you may experience discomfort or pain.

6. Pain Worsening with Downhill Movement

For runners, downhill running can be particularly painful with IT Band Syndrome. The repetitive flexion and extension of the knee while descending can intensify the pain.

7. Pain Reduction at Rest

Pain associated with IT Band Syndrome often lessens or disappears when you are at rest. However, it can return when you resume physical activity.

8. Audible Snapping or Popping

Some individuals may experience an audible snapping or popping sensation near the knee during movement. This can be caused by the iliotibial band snapping over the bony structures of the knee.

9. Decreased Flexibility

IT Band Syndrome can lead to reduced flexibility in the affected leg, particularly in the knee joint. You may find it challenging to fully bend or extend the knee.

10. Gait Changes

Individuals with IT Band Syndrome may alter their gait to compensate for the pain, which can lead to changes in their running or walking mechanics. This can put additional strain on other parts of the body.

If you suspect you have IT Band Syndrome based on these symptoms, it is essential to seek a proper diagnosis from a sports medicine specialist or orthopedic surgeon, like Dr. Steven Struhl. Dr. Struhl can perform a physical examination, review your medical history, and recommend imaging studies, such as an MRI, to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the condition.

Treatment for IT Band Syndrome typically involves rest, physical therapy, and various interventions to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. These may include icing, stretching, foam rolling, and anti-inflammatory medications. In some cases, corticosteroid injections or surgical interventions may be necessary.

It is essential to address IT Band Syndrome promptly and follow a structured rehabilitation program to prevent it from becoming a chronic issue. If you have signs of IT Band Syndrome, contact the office of Steven Struhl, MD – Shoulders & Knees. We have locations in NYC and Westchester, NY, for your convenience.