The iliotibial band (IT) is a long tendon that attaches a short muscle at the top, outer thigh to the outside of the tibia, or shin bone. This long band stretches the outer thigh over the outer knee and down to the shin bone. When the IT band rubs against the knee joint, it can cause irritation and knee pain symptoms called iliotibial band syndrome. Dr. Steven Struhl of Shoulders & Knees offers effective iliotibial (IT) band syndrome treatment at our clinics in Westchester and NYC.
Symptoms and Causes of IT Band Syndrome
In most people, the IT band moves smoothly over the outside of the knee when walking, running or bending the knee. This is aided by a bursa, a fluid-filled sac, that provides cushion between the IT band and the bones. When IT band syndrome occurs, it is often due to repetitive knee movement, usually in cyclists, runners and fast-paced sports. Athletes that push their limits may experience IT band symptoms. It can also be caused by movement irregularities or alignment issues within the leg.
- Pain on the outside of the knee
- Pain radiating up the thigh from above the outer knee
- Tenderness after running, walking or excess use of the knee
- A popping or snapping sensation when bending and straightening the leg
IT band syndrome can be accompanied by bursitis, inflammation of the bursa on the outside of the knee. Reducing inflammation in the knee is usually recommended for the treatment of mild to moderate IT band syndrome, using ice, rest and NSAIDs.
For more severe IT band syndrome, treating the bursitis and undergoing physical therapy may be recommended. Cortisone injections into the bursa can relieve inflammation and certain exercises and stretches can help reduce irritation of the IT band. In rare circumstances, surgery may be recommended to remove the bursa or to extend the length of the IT band.
If you suffer from symptoms of IT band syndrome that are not relieved by rest, ice and conservative treatments, contact us at Shoulders & Knees. We can schedule an appointment with Dr. Struhl to discuss iliotibial (IT) band syndrome treatment options.