Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome
The iliotibial band is a thick band of tissue that extends from the thigh down over the knee and attaches to the tibia. When the knee bends (flexion) and straightens (extension), the iliotibial band slides over the bony parts of the outer knee (lateral femoral epicondyle).
The term iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBFS) refers specifically to a syndrome of lateral knee pain related to irritation and inflammation of the distal portion of the iliotibial band at, or just distal to, the point at which it crosses the lateral femoral epicondyle.
Iliotibial band friction syndrome is an overuse injury caused by repetitive friction of the iliotibial band across the lateral femoral epicondyle. It is a well-recognized cause of knee pain in runners, so it is commonly called “runner’s knee,” although the condition is not unique to runners, nor is lateral knee pain the only manifestation of iliotibial band injury.
It is now frequently seen in cyclists, weight lifters, skiers and soccer players. It has also been found that injury to the iliotibial band and related structures may be noted as lateral “hip” or lateral thigh pain, as well as lateral knee pain.
When evaluating for ITBFS, examining the lower back, specifically the sacroiliac joints as well as the feet is an important consideration. Conservative management will typically resolve this condition.