Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome - Professional Rehabilitation Services

Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome

Dr. Zach Daniels PT, DPT, Cert. DN

Illustration of Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB) is a common disorder of the hip and knee that predominantly arises in females and runners. This band of tissue stretches along the outer side of the upper leg from the pelvis to just below the knee. Inflammation of the IT band can be attributed to joint malalignment, overuse injury, gait pattern deficits or strength limitations. With limited blood supply to this tissue, the length of time to heal this type of injury can often be months.

Symptoms often include pain and tightness along the side of the upper leg, which may be mis-diagnosed as hip or knee pain. Multiple different treatment protocols exist for this condition, requiring rehabilitation to be specifically tailored towards the exact deficits of the patient. A complete lower body evaluation and walking analysis is important to identify what the root cause of the mechanical dysfunction may be. The goal is to not only treat the pain along the side of the leg, but to ensure the symptoms will not return.

Physical therapy treatment for IT band syndrome may include pain relieving modalities (electrical stimulation), stretching, strengthening, joint mobilizations, inflammation control modalities, dry needling, and massage. Mixed results have been shown with foam rolling the IT band simply due to increasing the compressive forces on an already compressed area of the leg, specifically the bursas. This form of injury will not show up on an X-ray and most often diagnosed without any imaging at all.

Interestingly, IT band syndrome may arise after a knee or hip surgery/ injury due to altered walking and movement patterns. Often, when an individual favors a leg due to pain or surgical restrictions, the IT band mechanics change causing an increased friction and irritation to develop. I have personally seen IT band issues develop after total knee replacements as patients begin to integrate more walking, biking or squatting activities.

All in all, the diagnosis and treatment of iliotibial band syndrome is relatively simple and straight forward when the deficits are identified. The most frustrating aspect for patients is the length of time often required for recovery; and limitations they may have if training for a sporting event.

If you or your doctor determine that physical therapy is a good option for you then don’t hesitate to call our Market Common office at (843) 213-6338 or ask your doctor for a referral.

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From Pawleys Island to Myrtle Beach and Conway, Professional Rehabilitation Services provides Physical Therapy Services for the Georgetown, Pawleys Island, Surfside Beach, Murrells Inlet, Socastee, Myrtle Beach, Conway and Little River South Carolina communities.