IT Band Pain

By Michael DeChello, MS, PT

The iliotibial band is an extension of the tensor fascia lata muscle in the hip as a thickening of the fascia of the upper leg. The ITB fans out distally to insert on the lateral aspect of the patella and lateral retinaculum of the knee. Functionally it helps with abduction at the hip. Keeping in mind again that running is a one legged exercise and when the weight bearing limb hits the ground the hip musculature has to be strong enough to maintain a level pelvis. If not and the hip drops it causes excessive strain and pulling on the ITB which increases the stretch tension relationship. This leads to increase in compression forces on the lateral aspect of the knee. Specific stretching and strengthening exercises of hips and ITB will help better stabilize the hip during running reducing the compression forces.

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