Finally, after several months of trying to figure out my knee/leg pain, I think I’ve finally found the culprit. Notice I said “I” found the villain ’cause I’ve yet to see a doctor for it……I know I know, nurses make the worst patients!  But anywho, after Sunday’s run, the symptoms really became very clear along with the apparent cause.  Drumroll please…..Iliotibial Band Syndrome.  The crazy thing about this is that IT Band problems are very common and trust me, I’ve looked at this over and over again and my pain just hasn’t fit this profile….my pain hasn’t really fit any profile (and I’ve talked to several docs/runners I work with and we’ve all been confused)….until now.  Right now, the pain I’m having is pretty classic of the symptoms associated with ITB problems.

What is the iliotibial band (ITB)?

The iliotibial band is a tendinous extension of the fascia covering the gluteus maximus and tensor fascia latae muscles proximally. It descends distally to attach to the lateral condyle of the tibia. It also sends fibers to the lateral aspect of the patella (knee cap). Essentially, the ITB is the linkage between the pelvis, upper leg, and lower leg. Pathology to any structure linked to one of these areas may cause ITB contracture.

What are the facts concerning iliotibial band friction syndrome?

  • Pain localized over lateral femoral condyle-check!
  • Discomfort initially relieved by rest-check!
  • Pain may radiate toward the lateral joint line and proximal tibia-check!
  • Worse if a person continues to run-check!
  • No symptoms of internal derangement-check!
  • Symptoms frequently develop during downhill running-haven’t run enough hills to experience this.
  • Inadequate stretching program-uh….probably….so check this too!


So now what?
Well, the treatment is pretty typical of any similar overuse injury:  RICE, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.…along with anti inflammatories as well. Which is pretty much what I’ve been doing for the past three months, but I guess I’ll have to be patient and give it more time.  Have I mentioned that I’m *not* a patient person?!  At least I feel like I have something tangible to treat now, instead of wondering what was causing this mysterious pain.  I’ve also been using my foam roller to work out the tightness which also provides immediate relief, too. (post coming soon!)

Another area that I’m really going to start practicing is correct {and more of} stretching exercises.  There are several stretches that are specific to the IT Band and I’ll post those later in a follow up post.

Do you experience running injuries?  Have you experience IT Band issues?  If so, what are you doing about it?


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2 Comments on What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

  1. Thank YOU for explaining IT band injuries…I never got it. We nurses do make the worst patients. We are either over or under diagnosing ourselves!

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