What is Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome?
Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome (ITB Friction Syndrome) is a common overuse injury which gives pain on the outside of the knee during and following running or repetitive leg activity. Being an overuse injury, it is caused by repeated trauma rather than a specific incident.
It’s common name is “Runner’s Knee”.
What Goes Wrong with your Iliotibial Band?
Sometimes the hip muscles and ITB can shorten and tighten up. This can occur for a number of reasons:
- Poor biomechanics (running technique)
• Weak gluteal muscles
• Weak inner quadriceps
• Worn out or unsuitable joggers
• Thigh muscle fatigue
• Change of running time, distance and/or terrain
With a tight ITB, when you bend your knee the fascia rubs and compresses excessively over the fat pad. If this occurs over and over, as happens with running, the fat pad can get irritated and inflamed. This in turn causes pain and swelling.
Treatment for Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome
The aim of treatment is to reduce inflammation and, more importantly, correct the cause. If the cause is not correctly identified and corrected, this problem will keep occurring. Treatment can involve the following:- soft tissue massages, stretches, electrotherapy, home exercise, strengthening, taping, biomechanical analysis and orthotics.
How to Prevent Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome
• Stretch and strengthen as prescribed by your physio
• Use of an ITB roller to decrease ITB tightness
• Proper training principles, i.e. warm up and down, gradual increase in intensity, frequency or distance
• Proper equipment – e.g. Supportive shoes or orthotics
• Maintain desirable body weight. However, if overweight, the above three are even more important.