What exactly is the iliotibial band? Is it a rock group? What kind of music do they play? Actually, the iliotibial band, also referred to as the IT band, is the thick band of fibrous tissue running along the outside of the leg, starting at the hip and running along the outer thigh. It attaches to the outside edge of the shin bone, also known as the tibia, just under the knee joint. The iliotibial band works in conjunction with the quadriceps, those strong muscles in your thighs, to give you stability on the outside of your knee as you move.
Iliotibia band syndrome, sometimes called IT band friction syndrome, causes pain on the outside of the knee and the lower thigh. Inflammation of the IT band is typically the culprit. This injury is seen frequently in runners or athletes who engage in running as part of their overall conditioning routine. When overused, the IT band, which normally acts as a stabilizer, can become irritated. If you are affected with IT band friction syndrome, you will probably notice pain on the outside of your knee or in your lower thigh. The pain can become greater when going down stairs or when you arise from a seated position.
IT band friction syndrome can afflict those runners who engage in repetitive running motions, such as running only one way around a track or on one side of a road that is crowned. As most roads are sloped, running on the same side of the road continually can cause the outside foot to be lower than the inside one.
Certain physical anomalies may contribute to IT band friction syndrome, such as having bowed legs or excessive pronation of the foot. If you have muscle tightness in your glutes or in your quadriceps, you may be at increased risk for any sort of IT band injury.
The most common form of treatment for this condition is to employ the methodology of rest, ice, compression, and elevation, also known as the R.I.C.E. method. Physical therapy may be recommended so that you can be taught the precise manner in which to run or to stretch and engage in exercises of flexibility.