Do I have IT Band Syndrome? How to treat it?
The Ilio-Tibial band (ITB) is a long tough band of tissue that extends from the outside of your hip to the outside of your knee. IT Band Syndrome refers to the ITB becoming so tight that it rubs against the outer portion of your knee, causing pain, clicking, or soreness.
Runners and cyclists are susceptible to ITB syndrome. However, it is not that the activity itself causes the condition. Usually there is some in-born tightness of the ITB already that is further aggravated by prolonged running or cycling. ITB problems can also be aggravated by improper training habits and poor flexibility of muscles.
ITB Syndrome commonly causes pain on the outside of the knee that can start during or after a run. Sometimes, there is a clicking feeling, swelling or just soreness. Patients commonly feel the pain stretch upwards the thigh on the outer surface.
Diagnose and Treat Iliotibial Band Syndrome
ITB Syndrome can be diagnosed based on clinical examination and X-rays. However, if there is a suspicion that it is more severe than ITB syndrome alone, for example cartilage damage, an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan is recommended.
ITB syndrome, left untreated for some time, can progress to cartilage damage in the knee. This is because ITB tightness also causes tightness of the kneecap bone (patella), causing the patella cartilage to be under constant pressure and at risk of being damaged.
An MRI scan is also important to check for other conditions that can also cause pain on the outside of the knee. These include meniscus tear, injury of the Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL), or inflammation. The type of treatment may be different depending on what the exact condition is.
Simple methods of treating ITB syndrome are reducing running activity temporarily and doing daily massaging of the outer part of the thigh and knee. A foam roller is commonly used. A course of Physiotherapy may help the condition recover. More advanced methods include injections to the outside of the knee and Key-Hole procedures to physically release the tight structures. For people with persistent ITB pain not responsive to physiotherapy, the Key-Hole procedure can be the fastest and most effective way to recover.
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