Iliotibial band (ITB) pain

What is the ITB?

The iliotibial band (or iliotibial tract) is a long fibrous tendon that reinforces the upper leg and connections near the buttocks. It enables the flexing and extending, in a circle of motion, of the hip. It also stabilises the knee to sideways motions. Due to its stabilising effects in the legs, it is used constantly during walking and running. When a person is leaning forwards with a slightly flexed knee, the ITB is the knee's main support against gravity.

What causes ITB pain? 

Iliotibial band syndrome is an overuse injury resulting from the inflammation of the ITB. It occurs when the ITB and the lower outside portion of the thigh bone at the knee joint rub against each other. It commonly occurs in athletes, cyclists, and runners.

There are many contributing factors to this condition, including: 

  • Poor running mechanics or style

  • Weaker proximal hip muscles

  • Poor foot placement during activity 

  • Referred issues due to tightness in the hip and knee

How is ITB pain treated? 

Shockwave therapy (lithotripsy) can be used to reduce pain through its direct effects on pain receptors in the leg, whilst additional collagen and blood vessel formation is promoted to support the body healing and supporting itself to recover. 

What shouldn’t you do if your ITB is painful? 

  • Don’t train on rough or uneven surfaces

  • Don’t skip cooling down and stretching after activity 

  • Don’t push too far too quickly - slowly increase distance or effort over sessions 

  • Don't delay health professional involvement 

    • Contact QLS - all phone calls are free and one of our team can let you know if we can help - with no commitment from you unless you’re ready 

Additional Information 

  • Wikipedia - Iliotibial band syndrome


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