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Iliotibial Band Syndrome
(IT Band Syndrome)

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Overview

The iliotibial band (IT band) is a thick band of fibers that begins at the iliac crest (the border of the most prominent bone of the pelvis) in the pelvis and runs on the lateral or outside part of the thigh until it attaches into the tibia (shinbone). The gluteal or buttock muscle fibers and the tensor fascia latae (muscles of the hip joint) attach to it, and the band acts to coordinate muscle function and stabilize the knee during running.

Iliotibial band syndrome describes the pain caused by inflammation of the band as it crosses the lateral condyle of the femur. When the leg is in a straight (known as extended) position, the band fibers are anterior to, or in front of, the condyle (a bony projection on the outer surface of the femur, or thigh bone). As the knee flexes, the fibers move across the lateral condyle and are positioned behind or posterior to it. A bursa or sac in this area allows the iliotibial band to glide over the end of the femur.

When the band becomes irritated, friction may occur with walking or running, causing knee pain due to inflammation on the lateral part of the knee joint.

If symptoms are ignored, further inflammation and scarring may occur in the bursa, causing progressive pain with decreased activity.

Picture of Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome
Picture of Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/5/2014

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