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What is iliotibial band syndrome?

Iliotibial band syndrome occurs when the iliotibial band rubs against a bony prominence, causing pain.

The iliotibial band is a tough band of connective tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the outside of the knee. Iliotibial band syndrome can occur when this band of tissue rubs as it passes over a bony bump at the top of the leg, near the hip joint. Physiotherapy is important if you recognise symptoms of iliotibial band syndrome.

How does iliotibial band syndrome happen?

When the upper leg is moved, especially from side to side, the iliotibial band slides over a bony bump at the top of the leg. If this movement is performed repeatedly or if the iliotibial band is excessively tight, it can cause wear and tear of the band. To heal the wear and tear, the body starts an inflammatory response. This causes pain on the outside of the hip.

What are the symptoms of iliotibial band syndrome?

Iliotibial band syndrome results in a gradual onset of pain on the outside of the hip. The pain is aggravated by activities involving repeated movement of the upper leg, such as running. The pain initially presents as a dull ache around the outside of the hip near the end of a period of exercise and disappears when you stop. Other symptoms may include:

What should I do if I have iliotibial band syndrome?

If you have or suspect you have iliotibial band syndrome you should consult a physiotherapist as it will not get better on its own. In the meantime you can apply ice the outside of your hip using a bag of frozen peas or crushed ice wrapped in a damp cloth for 15–20 minutes over the outside of the hip every 1–2 hours.

What shouldn’t I do if I have iliotibial band syndrome?

If you have or suspect you have iliotibial band syndrome, you should not ignore the problem and continue to exercise. This may lead to your problem getting worse and your pain becoming more severe and more frequent.

Physiotherapy treatment for iliotibial band syndrome.

Physiotherapy is imperative in the treatment of iliotibial band syndrome. Initially, your physiotherapist can assist in diagnosing your problem and establishing its severity. Following your initial assessment, your physiotherapist will design an appropriate treatment plan. Treatment may involve:

Could there be any long-term effects from iliotibial band syndrome?

If it is properly diagnosed and treated, iliotibial band syndrome generally does not produce any long-term effects. In a small number of cases, surgery may be required. Surgery is only performed if physiotherapy treatment has failed to give relief.

Please call Physio.co.uk on 0330 088 7800 to arrange an appointment or book online today.

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