What is the Iliotibial Band?
Iliotibial band syndrome is due to inflammation of the iliotibial band, a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the leg. The iliotibial band begins at the hip and extends to the outer side of the shin bone (tibia) just below the knee joint. The band works in coordination with several of the thigh muscles to provide stability to the outside of the knee joint.
What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?
Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) occurs when there is irritation to this band of fibrous tissue. The irritation usually occurs on the outer side of the knee joint, specifically at the lateral epicondyle–the end of the femur (thigh) bone. The iliotibial band crosses bone and muscle at this point; between these structures is a bursa which should facilitate a smooth gliding motion. However, the iliotibial band does not easily glide when inflamed. The result is that pain is most often associated with movement.
What are the Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome?
As stated previously, the function of the iliotibial band is both to provide stability to the knee and assist in the flexion of the knee joint. When irritated, movement of the knee joint becomes painful. Usually, the pain worsens with continued movement and resolves with rest.