ITB FRICTION SYNDROME

ITB Friction Syndrome is a common overuse injury that involves pain being produced on the outside of the knee. It is usually associated with activities that involve repetitive bending and straightening of the knee, such as running and cycling.

The Iliotibial band is a thick band of fascia that runs from the top of the thigh and attaches into the kneecap and tibia (leg bone). As you bend and straighten the knee, the ITB passes over a bony prominence on the outside of the leg which causes a friction irritation and thus causes pain and inflammation.There are numerous reasons as to why the ITB may shorten and tighten.

  • Poor biomechanics – cycling/running technique
  • Muscle weakness/imbalance – weak gluteals or quads
  • Unsuitable footwear
  • Change in training frequency/distance/surface
  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Poor foot biomechanics

In order to treat ITB syndrome, rest from the aggravating activity is usually recommended, as well as ice over the outside of the knee to reduce inflammation.  Using a foam roller to roll up and down the ITB can be an effective home exercise to restore and maintain length of the fascial band. A Physiotherapist can utilise myofascial release, dry needling and trigger point therapy to release tight muscles and decrease pain.

It is also very important to address the biomechanical issues that may be causing the pain and irritation. At Physiosports, we use running and cycling video assessment as a great tool to gather information on biomechanics and any muscle weaknesses or imbalances that may be occurring. In turn, a thorough and specific rehabilitation program can be designed to address any issues found and when resolved, a gradual return to the pre-injury frequency and intensity of the activity may occur.