WHAT IS ILIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROME?
Iliotibial band syndrome, also known as ITBS, is a common overuse injury that affects the iliotibial band, a thick band of tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin. The iliotibial band helps to stabilise and store energy, but when it becomes tight or irritated, it can cause pain and discomfort on the outside of the knee.
ITBS is often seen in runners, hikers, and cyclists, as well as in people who engage in sports that involve a lot of lateral movement, such as football or basketball. It is thought to be caused by the repetitive rubbing of the iliotibial band over the bony prominence on the outer side of the knee, known as the lateral femoral epicondyle. This can lead to irritation, inflammation, and eventually pain.
Symptoms of ITBS may include pain on the outside of the knee, stiffness, and a burning sensation. Something call the ‘tin man effect’ can happen where patients do not want to bend their knee causing them to walk around with a straight knee.
The pain may be mild at first, but it can become severe if the condition is not treated. In some cases, the pain may radiate up the thigh or down the shin.
WHAT CAUSES IT BAND SYNDROME?
The cause of ITBS is not fully understood, but it is believed to be the result of overuse and repetitive strain on the iliotibial band.
When the iliotibial band is repeatedly overused, it can become inflamed and tight, leading to pain and swelling on the outside of the knee. This is often the result of activities that involve a lot of running or cycling, as well as activities that require the knee to bend and straighten repeatedly, such as football.
Another potential cause of ITBS is poor alignment or biomechanics of the knee and hip. When the knee is not properly aligned with the hip, it can put extra strain on the iliotibial band, leading to inflammation and pain.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN IT BAND SYNDROME AND RUNNER’S KNEE?
Illiotibial band syndrome and runner’s knee are two common injuries that can affect runners. While they may have similar symptoms, they are caused by different issues and require different treatment approaches.
When the illiotibial band becomes tight or inflamed, it can cause pain and discomfort on the outside of the knee. This is known as ITB syndrome.
Runner’s knee, on the other hand, is a condition that affects the knee joint itself. It is typically caused by an irritation of the patellofemoral joint, sometimes due to repetitive impact during running. It can also be caused by weakness in the muscles that support the knee.
Symptoms of runner’s knee include pain and stiffness in the knee, swelling, and difficulty bending or straightening the knee.
While ITB syndrome and runner’s knee may have similar symptoms, they are caused by different issues and require different treatment approaches.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TREATMENTS FOR ITBS?
Treatment for ITBS typically involves a combination of approaches to reduce inflammation, improve flexibility and strength, and prevent future injuries. Here are the top treatments for ITBS:
- Rest and Ice – One of the most effective treatments for ITBS is to rest the affected area and apply ice to reduce swelling and inflammation. This can help to reduce pain and promote healing.
- Stretching and Strengthening Exercises – Stretching and strengthening exercises can help to improve flexibility and strength in the affected area. This can help to prevent future injuries and reduce the risk of ITBS. Some common stretches for ITBS include leg swings, lateral leg raises, and single leg squats.
- Massage Therapy – Massage therapy can help to reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area. It can also help to improve flexibility and strength.
- Orthotic Devices – Orthotic devices, such as shoe inserts or braces, can help to provide support and stability to the affected area. This can help to reduce pain and prevent future injuries.
- Running coaching – running differently changes the load through the ITBS which can be a useful tool to get back to running.
These treatments can help to reduce pain and inflammation, improve flexibility and strength, and prevent future injuries. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for your individual needs.
CAN SHOCKWAVE BE USED FOR ITBS?
One treatment option for IT band syndrome is the use of shockwave therapy. Shockwave therapy, also known as extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), uses high-energy sound waves to stimulate the healing process in the affected area.
In the case of IT band syndrome, shockwave therapy is applied to the IT band itself, as well as the surrounding muscles and tendons. The shockwaves help to break down scar tissue, increase blood flow to the area, and stimulate the production of new collagen. This can help to reduce inflammation and improve flexibility in the IT band, ultimately leading to pain relief.
One study found that 90% of patients who received shockwave therapy for IT band syndrome experienced significant improvement in their symptoms after just three sessions. Additionally, the effects of shockwave therapy can last for several months, making it a long-lasting treatment option.
Shockwave therapy is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, with few side effects reported. It is also non-invasive and can be performed in a doctor’s office or clinic setting.
Overall, shockwave therapy is a promising treatment option for IT band syndrome, providing relief from pain and improved flexibility in the affected area. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine if shockwave therapy is the right option for you.
In conclusion, iliotibial band syndrome is a common injury among athletes and active individuals. It is caused by repetitive strain on the iliotibial band, which is a thick band of tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh. Symptoms include pain and tenderness on the outside of the knee, swelling, and difficulty bending the knee.
If you suspect you may be suffering from iliotibial band syndrome, it is important to consult with a physiotherapist who specialises in the management of it for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
By addressing the issue and taking preventative measures, you can reduce your risk of developing this painful and potentially debilitating condition.