Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome is a very common injury in general but even more common among runners. I see it everyday in practice! If it is diagnosed early (which can be difficult as it is misdiagnosed a lot) and treatment commences immediately, the chances of it becoming a chronic condition are drastically reduced. It responds very well to gentle chiropractic and massage therapy since it involves the pelvis and related muscles. When pelvic mechanics are not functioning properly the muscles don’t work efficiently which hinders flexibility and mobility. (As Lexi would say… muscle moves bone) This can lead to tight muscles which may inhibit motion and cause pain.

What is the Iliotibial (IT) Band Exactly?

The Iliotibial Band, or fasciae latae, is the outer casing of muscle that extends along the outer thigh, from the top of the hip to the outside of the knee. Iliotibial band syndrome occurs when that casing becomes thickened. It is flexed or tight when you stand; it is what keeps your leg straight, allowing the larger thigh muscle to rest.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Defined

As the iliotibial band thickens it pulls in the area where it connects to the knee. This results in knee pain due to the application of too much pressure on the bursa. The bursa then becomes swollen, inflamed, and painful. During an activity, such as running on an incline, the glutes are heavily involved.

The other end of the iliotibial band is inserted at the glutes so as the band tightens from this activity, it can trigger iliotibial band syndrome pain. Repeated activity further aggravates it, as does running on tight indoor tracks or uneven roads as well as having collapsed arches or running it inferior or worn out running shoes.

Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

There are several symptoms that can be used to diagnose iliotibial band syndrome. Lateral knee pain (pain on the outside of the knee) is a primary symptom and often used as a key diagnostic tool. Few conditions involve lateral knee pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain that worsens after running, particularly after running on an incline, climbing stairs, or climbing hills.
  • There may not be any pain until you do something that aggravates it like climbing a hill.
  • The pain may not begin until you are mid-way through a run.
  • The pain can be intense and debilitating.
  • It can accompany a snapping hip, which occurs when the muscles that cross the outer hip may click or snap while running or walking.
  • The pain may be present along the lateral thigh without incorporating the knee.

Treatments for IT Band Syndrome

If your IT band syndrome is caused by a problem with the pelvic function, relieving the pain from the condition can be difficult. Stretching is likely to give you some relief if you can catch it early. If the pain from IT band syndrome lasts for more than two weeks even with stretching, your regular exercise routine, and ice and you don’t see much improvement, an Overland Park Chiropractor & Overland Park Massage Therapist can help.

Even if the pain is located in the knee, the problem could originate in the pelvis. An Overland Park Chiropractor can assess your condition, check to see that your pelvis is functioning properly. If it isn’t, gentle chiropractic and medical massage can bring the body back into alignment and make the pelvis more functional.

If you are looking for a team that has both gentle chiropractic and medical massage that has been in practice for a decade… give us a call!


Thanks for reading!

Dr. Christina