IliotibialBand (ITB) Syndrome

What is ITB syndrome?

Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome is one of the commonest overuse injuries and is seen commonly in runners.  It causes pain in the line of the ITB.  The ITB is a thin band of tissue that runs down the outer side of the thigh from the pelvis to the outer shin just below the knee.  It can cause pain predominantly at its lower end or at its top end where the condition often coexists with trochanteric bursitis / greater trochanteric pain syndrome.

How is ITB syndrome diagnosed?

Diagnosis by a specialist is usually straightforward but it is important to exclude other conditions that can cause thigh pain and pain on the outer side of the knee. X-rays and scans are not usually needed unless they are required to exclude another possible cause for the pain.

How is ITB syndrome treated?

The first step is to deal with any provoking factors. Overtraining is a common issue but poor training technique and running technique can also cause this problem.  Specific treatment involves ITB stretches as well as strengthening of the buttock and thigh muscles.  Pain-killers can also help to deal with the symptoms.

What if these don’t work?

Shock-wave therapy is a very useful non-invasive treatment for this condition and we have found it to give relief in 70-80% of cases provided that the underlying factors are also dealt with.

We rarely use other treatments for this condition, but there are surgical options that can be used in very resistant cases.

I now have only slight discomfort

My condition made walking painful and was also made worse if I had been sitting in the same position for a while, for example, driving. I also had problems if I slept on my left side. This was extremely uncomfortable. I was referred for physiotherapy and when this gave me no results over aproximately a year I then had an injection into my left trochanteric bursa. This did not give relief for long.

I was then referred to the clinic. After the consultation some specific stretches and a course of shock wave therapy were recommended. I had three sessions of SWT treatment. The first was uncomfortable for a short time whilst it was happening. Following this it gave me a little relief. The second session was more painful. When the third session had finished I had minimal discomfort. I can now walk longer periods and have only slight discomfort when driving, not as acute as it was before at all. I would say to others that the treatment is a little uncomfortable but the benefits after the third session far outweighs the pain experienced.

Trochanteric bursitis/ITB syndrome

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