Iliotibial band syndrome is often referred to by other names – most commonly Runners Knee and iliotibial band friction syndrome (sometimes shortened to ITBS and ITBFS). All of these names refer to the same condition. It is an overuse injury that occurs with repetitive movement e.g. running, cycling and comes as a result of inflammation and irritation of the distal portion of the iliotibial tendon as it rubs against the bone at the side of your knee, or less commonly at your hip. Inflammation and irritation may occur because of a lack of flexibility of the ITB resulting in an increase in tension in the knee area. ITBS can also arise as a result of muscle imbalance and weakness in the gluteal and core muscles.
Some Causes of Runner’s Knee / ITBS:
Iliotibial band syndrome is common in runners as 20 – 30 degrees is the approximate angle at the knee when the foot strikes the ground during running – the conditions at which Runner’s Knee / ITBS most commonly occurs. In those who run regularly, this may lead to irritation of the ITB commonly known as iliotibial band friction syndrome.
Physiotherapy is one of the primary methods of treatment for Runners Knee / ITBS as it assists in reducing the amount of inflammation and irritation. People may also find relief in soft tissue massage to target the painful areas and can also benefit from non-invasive treatments such as ultrasound therapy. As this is an injury that can be caused physical activity (i.e. running), gentle stretching and exercise techniques can be implemented to gradually restore the knee to pain free status.
What we can do for you:
Physiotherapy treatment in the acute stage may include acupuncture or electrotherapy modalities e.g. state-of-the-art laser or ultrasound medical technologies. Since some cases of ITBS are caused by excessive tension on the knee, physiotherapy can help to incorporate proper stretching techniques into the patient’s exercise routine. These exercises concentrate on increasing flexibility of the ITB and of the gluteus muscles. Other muscles that commonly need attention for flexibility include the hamstrings, quadriceps, gastrocnemius and soleus. Soft-tissue mobilisation and massage techniques may be used to assist with lengthening of the sore ITB to assist it with returning to normal function. Your PhysioCare Chartered Physiotherapist will advise you of a home exercise programme to address any muscular imbalance(s) contributing to the problem.