The Iliotibial Band is a ligament made from dense regular connective tissue, that arises from the anterior medial iliac crest, tensor fascia latae and gluteus maximus.
This band extends distally along the lateral side of the thigh and across the knee joint, inserting on Gerdy’s tubercle on the lateral aspect of tibia.
The Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is a condition which occurs most often in runners, where the band becomes tight or inflamed. This could be due to a number of issues such as low flexibility of muscle, excessive squatting, bowed legs, lower limb musculature imbalance or a faulty foot posture.
One of the challenges of efficiently treating ITBS stems from the fact that this band is consistently anchored to the lateral epicondyle of the femur by strong fibrous strands.
In the case of a hyperpronated foot during gait, there is excess stress placed on the kinetic chain of the lower limbs due to the collapse of the medial arch.
This causes an internal rotation of the tibia and valgus movement at the femoral-tibial joint, which leads to increased friction in the iliotibial band during activity.
Among the common symptoms of ITBS, pain on the lateral side of the knee is the most reported one. This occurs because of inflammation in the band as it crosses back and forth at the femoral epicondyle.
Recommended treatment procedures for the condition include stretching and strengthening exercises which help stretch the band across the hip. Inflammation is normally reduced through rest, use of ice packs and topical anti-inflammatories.
Deep-tissue massages are also helpful to a certain extent.
However, if the cause is biomechanical in nature, then it becomes of the utmost importance to address this issue first and to reduce the stress placed on the entire kinetic chain of the body.
Rehabilitation programmes need to address the core issue of the problem by restoring optimal foot functionality in the patient and preventing any recurrent injuries.
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Repetitive plantarflexion can lead to pain and mechanical limitation in the posterior ankle joint which is known as posterior ankle impingement syndrome. This pathology commonly occurs in ballet dancers and football players.