In combination with the muscles of the buttocks and upper leg, the iliotibial band, or IT band, is responsible for moving and rotating the hip and the knee joint. From its attachment at the iliac crest (the highest point on the pelvis), the IT band stretches down the outer side of the leg before it attaches to the tibia. In many seasoned runners, hikers, and cyclists, this long band of connective tissue can become inflamed through overuse or a rapid increase in workout intensity. Fortunately, the condition can be resolved through accurate diagnosis and proper treatment from an experienced orthopedic surgeon.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
In most cases, athletes suffering from inflammation of the iliotibial band (ITB syndrome) will approach their doctor with complaints of pain in the hip, knee, or outer side of the upper leg. To determine the cause of the problem and rule out any other potential issues, the physician will often order an x-ray to visualize the upper part of the leg. If the patient is suffering from iliotibial band syndrome, the x-ray will often come back negative, prompting an MRI scan. In some cases, MRI will conclusively demonstrate the presence of ITB syndrome by showing a thickening of the fibrous band from chronic inflammation.
Once diagnosed, the orthopedic surgeon will recommend a schedule of physical therapy to improve the flexibility of the IT band and reduce inflammation in the area. Depending on the athlete’s unique needs and situation, a treatment plan will be formulated to reduce pain and still allow for cardiovascular activity.
Do not let ITB syndrome affect your workouts—contact the practice of Dr. Drew A. Stein and schedule a consultation today. Dr. Stein is experienced in the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of sports-related orthopedic injuries and is committed to the continued health of the athletes in his community. Call (212) 398-2300 today for more information about the services we offer.