The Iliotibial band (ITB) is the longest tendon in the body running from the bony bump on the outside of your hip down to the outside of the knee. It often tightens up to compensate for weak muscles elsewhere which leads to problems. Tight ITBs cause friction on structures underneath them, most commonly causing pain on the outside of the knee.
Self-Check: Does the outside of your leg have a tight band or indention all the way down the outside? Do you get outside of the knee pain with 1.5+ miles of walking or running? These are common signs of IT Band Syndrome.
What are Symptoms of IT Band Syndrome?
IT Band Syndrome most often occurs after a period of activity being on your feet (running, walking) and starts as a tightness on the outside of the knee. This progresses to sharp shooting pains or “locking up” of the outside of the knee. Often it is a severe enough pain to stop the activity causing it. The pain is usually eased by rest and ice.
What Causes IT Band Syndrome?
The pain from IT Band Syndrome is caused by the tightness of the IT band itself, along with the friction a tight IT band creates with the tissues that underlie it. The most common friction causing spots are the outside of the thigh and knee. The underlying reason the IT band is tight is usually more complicated and involves a muscle imbalance.
How do you treat IT Band Syndrome?
Lengthening the IT Band will take pressure off of it and the other structures causing the pain, but maintaining that length requires proper examination to identify muscle imbalances.
Did you know?
The IT band is the longest tendon in the body!
IT Band Syndrome is one of the most common running injuries and usually starts between 1½ -3 miles into a run.