Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Overview

What is iliotibial band syndrome?

Iliotibial band syndrome is pain and swelling of the iliotibial band (also called the IT band). This is a band of tissue that runs down the outside of your thigh. It connects the side of your hip to the side of your knee. It helps keep your knee and hip stable and in their normal position.

You can get this syndrome if the IT band is too tight or if you do certain activities over and over that put pressure on your hip or knee. It's a common problem in people who run, bike, or do other aerobic activities.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include pain on the outside of the knee or hip. You may have snapping hip pain as the iliotibial band snaps back and forth over the bony point of the hip. The pain may improve with rest or go away when the band is stretched out and becomes more flexible.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your past health and do a physical exam. The doctor will check areas of pain and tenderness and assess your range of motion and strength. Tests may be done to help make a diagnosis. These may include imaging tests such as an MRI or ultrasound.

How is iliotibial band syndrome treated?

Iliotibial band syndrome is treated with rest, medicines to relieve swelling and pain, and stretching exercises as instructed by a physical therapist or sports medicine doctor. Steroid injections at the most tender spot are sometimes helpful.

Credits

Current as of: March 9, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine

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