ITB (Iliotibial band) friction syndrome is a painful condition that is a result of compression from the ITB over an irritable fat pad in the knee. It was previously believed to be due to rubbing of the ITB across the knee joint resulting in friction and pain. However it is now understood to be due to compression, as opposed to rubbing.
How does it occur?
Poor biomechanics, muscle imbalances and training errors appear to be the main causes of ITB syndrome. It usually progresses over time and onset coincides with an increase in training load. Runners often find that it comes on during the same period of running or running at a particular pace.
Signs and Symptoms
Pain is felt on the outside (lateral) part of the knee. Pain is often sharp and usually worsens with time while running or playing sport. Depending on the severity some athletes are able to continue to play, however it can cause the athlete to need to cease sport completely and are unable to continue.
Do you need scans?
Scans are not necessary to determine if the ITB is the cause of your issues. They may be warranted if another knee pathology is suspected. Diagnosis is made on your reported history of the issue and physical physiotherapist led examination of the knee.
What should you do about it?
Seek out the help from your local Melbourne sports physiotherapist. ITB syndrome should not prevent you from running if you are properly managed and your symptoms are not severe. Physiotherapy intervention may include:
· load management
· running and biomechanical assessment and modification
· a tailored strength program, specifically targeting the gluteal region
· soft tissue release
· dry needling
At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy, we understand it is not easy for runners to stop running so our physiotherapists aim to keep you running, as best we can. Physiotherapy has a high rate of success in treating ITB syndrome. However, in a rare few if symptoms do not resolve with physiotherapy, an ITB release from a surgeon may be warranted.