The iliotibial band is a piece of connective tissue. It runs from the hip to the shinbone on the outside of the leg. This piece of fascia plays a significant role in helping the knee flex and extend. Unfortunately, this piece of connective tissue can become damaged over time. In many cases, this damage is referred to as iliotibial band syndrome. This condition is an overuse injury.
The primary causes are overworking the body, failing to stretch properly before strenuous activity, and mechanical imbalances. This condition most commonly occurs in runners and bicyclists, though it can affect anyone.
There are several options for iliotibial band syndrome treatment. All patients need to rest their legs. Medications for iliotibial band syndrome can be helpful to relieve some pain.
Most patients will take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories for iliotibial band syndrome, as they can provide IT band pain relief. One example is ibuprofen. Home remedies for iliotibial band syndrome include massage and foam rollers for the legs.
Signs and Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Some patients need physical therapy for iliotibial band syndrome. Of course, patients must first understand their symptoms to ensure that they receive the best treatment for iliotibial band syndrome.
1. Stinging or Pricking Sensation
The first sign of iliotibial band syndrome is a stinging or pricking sensation in the knee after the patient’s leg has been in motion. While this sensation can feel really odd, most patients generally ignore it.
The reason is that the stinging or pricking sensation comes in quick bursts. This symptom will gradually progress over time as the iliotibial band becomes more damaged. After months of quick bursts, the stinging sensation will eventually become painful.
Most individuals suffering from it band syndrome feel this sharp sting when the heel of their foot hits the ground.
2. Knee Swelling
The iliotibial band runs behind the thighbone before reaching the knee joint. With the bursa’s help, the iliotibial band ensures that the leg can be extended and bent without harming the knee joint.
If this area of the body gets overworked without proper stretching or rest, inflammation will start developing. It is often tough to notice any symptoms when this inflammation first starts to occur.
Once the iliotibial band and bursa stay inflamed for a long period, patients start to notice swelling around the knee joint. This knee swelling will only go away with decreased activity and proper medical treatment.
3. Knee and Leg Pain
Once the iliotibial band and bursa sac are allowed to swell for an extended period, more troubling symptoms will start to appear. The inflammation will eventually begin to cause serious knee and leg pain.
Since the iliotibial band is located on the outer side of the leg and knee, this is where patients will feel the most pain. There is a chance that the pain can start to radiate in the other parts of the knee and leg.
However, it will always develop on the outside of the knee first. Pain is easily the most common symptom of iliotibial band syndrome. The pain is sometimes accompanied by warmth and redness on the knee.
4. Clicking or Popping Around the Knee
Inflammation in the iliotibial band causes the connective tissue to tighten over time. The tightening of the iliotibial band plays a huge role in the painful symptoms associated with this medical condition. It can also cause another problem.
Although not everyone experiences it, some patients report hearing clicking or popping around the knee when dealing with iliotibial band syndrome. These unwanted noises are heard when bending or flexing the leg.
The noise occurs because the iliotibial band is getting stretched to its limits. Several different problems can cause knee clicking or popping. However, it is almost always iliotibial band syndrome when accompanied by these other symptoms.
5. Buttock Tenderness
Most of the problems with the iliotibial band occur around the knee. However, it is also possible to develop issues near the top of the connective tissue. Similar to the other symptoms associated with iliotibial band syndrome, these problems occur when the iliotibial band becomes too tight.
The tight tissue causes friction on the hip when the body moves, resulting in hip and buttock tenderness. The iliotibial band may start at the hip, though the tenderness almost always radiates to the buttock.
The tenderness will occur on the same side of the body with the bad iliotibial band, so it will only be felt on one buttock and not the other.