ITB tightness – A runner’s nightmare
ITB (Illiotibial Band) related conditions are commonly seen in endurance sports. Running, cycling, hiking are some such sports where an individual is highly prone to ITB related injuries. ITB tightness cannot be ignored, as it can lead to many injuries which can affect one’s performance. Quite often it’s not the tightness itself but increased loading or strain on the ITB because of other biomechanical factors. These injuries are usually overuse type and if they develop, they can keep an athlete off sports for weeks or more. So, it is very important to keep a check on its tightness in order to prevent injuries.
Illiotibial band is a thick band of fascia found on the outer side of the thigh. It runs from the pelvic bone, crosses hip and knee joints and gets attached to the tibia (lower leg bone). At the hip joint, gluteus maximus and TFL (tensor fascia lata) muscle merge into ITB. It also attaches to the fascia of vastus lateralis muscle (outer thigh muscle), which is a part of your quadriceps muscle. Illiotiabial band is an essential structure as it helps in stabilizing the knee joint.
A tight illiotibial band or increased loading/strain on it due to biomechanical factors, can lead to anterior knee pain, external hip snapping and ITB Friction Syndrome. In external hip snapping, an audible click occurs from ITB moving over greater trochanter (bony protuberance) of thigh bone. Pain might also be present along with an audible click when an individual flexes and extends the hip.
While in ITB Friction Syndrome, pain is present on the outer side of the knee. This pain usually sets in during activity and increases gradually, which can further force an athlete to discontinue. You might notice tenderness on palpation and swelling may as well be present. This condition develops due to increase in friction and compression between the ITB and lateral femoral condyle (outer bony protuberance of thigh bone near knee joint).
Next page – Factors leading to excessive loading on Illiotibial Band