Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is an inflammation of the iliotibial band of tissue on the outer side of the thigh that spans from the hip to the shinbone. When ITBS occurs, the tendon can rub against the hip or knee bones, causing swelling and irritation.


Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is usually caused by overuse. Once the band is irritated and swollen, it becomes too tight and rubs against the bones of the hip and knee. Runners and bikers commonly experience ITBS. Factors leading to ITBS include improper stretching before exercise, running downhill, overexertion, and wearing worn out shoes. It can also be the result of pre-existing conditions, such as arthritis.


Knee and hip pain are two of the most common symptoms of iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS). A clicking or snapping sensation in the knee or hip may also be noticeable. Warmth and redness on the outside of the knee is also possible. Pain usually worsens with activity but improves with rest.


Before diagnosing iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), physicians will look at symptoms, medical history, and a physical exam that includes moving the knees and hips. Imaging tests may also be used to rule out other injuries.


Treatments for iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) vary depending on severity. In mild cases, ITBS can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and rest. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended.

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