Ilio-Tibial Band Friction Syndrome

Are you having knee pain when running or cycling? One potential problem this could be is Ilio-Tibial Friction Syndrome.  Find out more about this condition and how Harris & Ross go about treating it at our North West clinics here

What is it?

Ilio-Tibial Band Friction Syndrome (ITBFS) is an overuse injury that presents as pain on the outside of the knee. It is aggravated by sporting activity and is highly common in cyclists, runners and other endurance athletes.

What is the Iliotibial Band?

The Ilio-Tibial Band is a thick band of connective tissue that runs down the outer part of the thigh and across the knee joint. It runs from part of the pelvis called the ilium via the Tensor Fascia Latae muscle, and attaches to the top of the outside of the shinbone (the lateral tibial condyle). Its job is to stabilise the hip and knee.

What causes ITBFS?

A highly sensitive layer of connective tissue and a pad of fat are thought to be the area producing pain.  This tissue sits between the ITB and the bony bump on the lower aspect of the outer thighbone (lateral femoral epicondyle). Ultimately, anything that leads to increased friction and compression of this region can contribute to ITBFS. Common causes include:

  • Biomechanics – poor Pelvic, Hip, knee and foot control
  • Weakness in muscles stabilising the hip (Gluteal muscles)
  • Weakness in muscles stabilising the knee (Quadriceps and Hamstrings)
  • Poor flexibility of Hip and Thigh muscles (Gluteals and Quadriceps)
  • Fatigue

Common signs and symptoms:

  • Ache over the outside of the knee
  • Commonly aggravated with running or cycling
  • Onset of pain tends to be at the same distance/time during activity
  • Downhill running, extended training sessions and uneven terrain can also aggravate

How can Physiotherapy help?

Physiotherapy can help by treating the causative factors mentioned above. Here are some of the methods our physiotherapists employ to address the issues:

  • Strengthening hip and knee stabilisers
  • Deep tissue massage of tight soft tissues
  • Dry needling of tight soft tissues
  • Stretches
  • Home exercise and rehab program
  • Core Stability
  • Podiatry input may be necessary if Foot mechanics are an issue

Following an initial assessment we will help you decide the most suitable treatment and create a management plan for you.

To make an appointment for an initial physio assessment at our Wilmslow, Manchester, Wigan or Altrincham clinics, and discuss a treatment plan call Harris & Ross on 0161 832 9000 or click the book now icon below.