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Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

This condition is a painful inflammation of the iliotibial band, a thick, tendon-like portion of a muscle that travels from the hip down the outer side of the thigh to the knee. ITBS results in pain, aggravated by activity, that is usually felt on the outer side of the knee.

Iliotibial Band syndrome is caused by overuse of the iliotibial band, which stabilizes the knee. The iliotibial band glides back and forth over the lateral femoral epicondyle during walking or running, and this constant rubbing can cause irritation and inflammation. ITBS can be caused by poor training habits, such as inadequate stretching or running on a banked surface, or by abnormalities in the anatomy of the legs and feet.

The pain of ITBS is most commonly felt on the outer side of the thigh just above the knee. But pain may be felt anywhere along the length of the iliotibial band, from the hip down to its attachment point at the tibia (just below the knee). Pain usually worsens with activity.

Treatment options may include rest, ice, compression and elevation. Stretches and exercises and anti-inflammatory medications may also be recommended. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

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