Physiotherapy in Calgary for IT Band Syndrome

Welcome to Chinook Rehab Centre's patient resource about Iliotibial Band Syndrome.

Iliotibial band (IT Band) syndrome is an overuse problem that is often seen in bicyclists, runners, and long-distance walkers. It causes pain on the outside of the knee just above the joint. It rarely gets so bad that it requires surgery, but it can be very bothersome. The discomfort may keep athletes and other active people from participating in the activities they enjoy.

This article will help you understand:

  • how IT Band syndrome develops
  • how the IT Band Syndrome causes problems
  • what treatment options are available for IT Band Syndrome

Anatomy

What is the ITB, and what does it do?

The IT Band is actually a long tendon. (Tendons connect muscles to bone.) It attaches to a short muscle at the top of the pelvis called the tensor fascia lata. The ITB runs down the side of the thigh and connects to the outside edge of the tibia (shinbone) just below the middle of the knee joint. You can feel the tendon on the outside of your thigh when you tighten your leg muscles. The ITB crosses over the side of the knee joint, giving added stability to the knee.

The lower end of the ITB passes over the outer edge of the lateral femoral condyle, the area where the lower part of the femur (thighbone) bulges out above the knee joint. When the knee is bent and straightened, the tendon glides across the edge of the femoral condyle.

Lateral Femoral Condyle

A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that cushions body tissues from friction. These sacs are present where muscles or tendons glide against one another. A bursa rests between the femoral condyle and the ITB.

Muscles or Tendons Glide

Normally, this bursa lets the tendon glide smoothly back and forth over the edge of the femoral condyle as the knee bends and straightens