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IT band syndrome a common knee injury which occurs when the band become irritated, inflamed, and tight.

What is IT band syndrome and how can it affect you?

The iliotibial band is a long piece of connective tissue that runs on the outside of the leg from the hip and down past the knee to the shinbone. It can help stabilize and move the side of the knee, and also allows you to extend, rotate and abduct your hip. IT band syndrome a common knee injury which occurs when the band become irritated, inflamed, and tight. You may feel pain in your hip or when bending your knee.

What causes IT band syndrome?

IT band syndrome is the result of friction from the IT band tightening and rubbing against the bone due to either overuse or repetitive motions. This condition is more common in cyclists and runners, but can also develop from wearing high heels, sitting with bent knees for long periods of time, or repetitively walking up or down stairs. You may have an increased risk of developing the syndrome if you have prior injuries to the IT band, weak muscles in the hips, glutes, or abdomen, or have weak hip abductors, knee extensors, or knee flexor muscles. Those with knee arthritis or who have unbalanced leg lengths, bowlegs, or flatfeet are also at higher risk of developing IT band syndrome. You may also be at higher risk if you lack flexibility or sit for long periods of time. You can prevent IT band syndrome by warming up before workouts, not pushing yourself during activities, resting between workouts, wearing proper shoes or equipment, and using proper form. IT band syndrome often occurs in younger athletes or those who exercise regularly, and often training mistakes can be corrected in order to prevent the condition.

How is IT band syndrome treated?

In order to diagnose IT band syndrome a doctor may perform a physical exam, look at your medical history, and talk to you about your symptoms. They may also ask you to demonstrate certain muscle movements. Certain cases may require an MRI, ultrasound, or x-ray in order to confirm diagnosis or view the extent of the injury.  There are several possible treatments for ITBS, including taking NSAIDs, stretching daily, strength training, and icing and resting the affected area. In severe chronic cases, a doctor may also recommend corticosteroid injections or surgery.

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