Physical Therapy for Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome | The Vincera Institute
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Physical Therapy for Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome

So what is ITB syndrome, exactly?

The iliotibial band is a thick band of fascia that starts proximally at the hip joint and runs distally to insert at the anterior/lateral aspect of the knee. Iliotibial band symptoms/pain associated with ITB abnormality commonly occurs in runners, cyclists and endurance athletes, but can also occur with weakness of hip stabilizing musculature/musculature imbalances, repetitive overuse or secondary to a biomechanical/postural cause. One of the most common symptoms is lateral knee pain that usually occurs from irritation/inflammation of the distal iliotibial band. Thickening/increased tone noted in this distal area of the ITB can contribute to rubbing and increased friction against your lateral femoral epicondyle especially with repetitive bending/straightening of the knee, contributing to pain. Occasionally, symptoms may also be noted proximally, closer to the hip joint and contribute to referred hip pain.

Physical therapy can be very helpful in identifying the cause of your ITB symptoms. Identify contributing factors to ITB symptoms will help to facilitate an appropriate rehab program including a combination of manual interventions and exercises to correct increased tone of the ITB and often associated muscle imbalances, which commonly includes weakness of gluteus medius and/or hip/core stabilizing musculature.

Here are some tips on how to avoid ITB syndrome

  • Give your body a proper warm up before activity and cool down after activity
  • Incorporate stretching to your warm up and cool down regimen
  • Replace shoes before they get too worn
  • Avoid training on uneven surfaces
  • When running on a track, change directions repeatedly
  • Get an evaluation by a podiatrist to see if you need orthotics

Stay healthy and happy winter training!

The diagnosis and treatment of core injuries is The Vincera Institute's mission and reason for being. We have helped tens of thousands of patients get back in the game. If you are suffering from a core injury, we can help.