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Iliotibial Band Syndrome - ITB (Runners Knee)

Iliotibial Band Syndrome - ITB (Runners Knee) is a common knee injury, where pain is felt on the side of the knee. Like other knee injuries, such as Patellafemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), and Jumper's Knee (Patella Tendinopathy), it is usually the result of activities where the knee is constantly being bent. 

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome - ITB (Runners Knee)

The iliotibial band, (also known ans iliotibial tract or Massiat's band), is a thick group of fibres that runs from the outside hip to the outside thigh and knee, and then down to the shin bone. It helps to abduct, rotate and extend the hip, as well as stabilize and move the side of the knee, while protecting the thigh. 

If the iliotibial band becomes tight and rubs over the bone, this can result in pain and swelling around the knee.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Signs and Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome - ITB (Runners Knee)

The most common symptom of Iliotibial Band Syndrome is pain on the outer side of the knee, just above the joint. Other symptoms include:

  • Aching, burning or tenderness on the outside of the knee
  • A clicking, popping or snapping sensation on the outside of the knee
  • Pain up and down the leg
  • Warmth and redness around the knee
  • Early on, the pain may dissipate after warming up. However, after some time, the pain may get worse during exercise

Causes of Iliotibial Band Syndrome - ITBS (Runners Knee)

ITBS occurs when there is excessive friction from the iliotibial band being overly tight and rubbing across the bone. It is an overuse injury, and occurs from repetitive movements. Therefore, it is common in athletes like runners and cyclists, but can also develop from activities such as walking up and down stairs, wearing heels, and sitting down for long periods of time. 

Risk factors of ITBS include:

  • pre-existing iliotibial band tightness or injury
  • weakness or lack of flexibility
  • walking or running on a track or uphill
  • weak hip, gluteal and abdominal muscles
  • weak knee extensors and flexors, and hip abductors
  • excessive sitting
  • repetitive activities such as cycling or running
  • knee arthritis
  • bowlegs
  • unbalanced leg lengths
  • flat feet

Statistics and Epidemiology related to Iliotibial Band Syndrome - ITBS (Runners Knee)

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