Iliotibial band syndrome is a condition characterized by the iliotibial band becoming inflamed. This band runs down the outer leg and is very fibrous and thick. It starts by connecting at the hip and then connects right below the knee joint at the outer shin bone. This band helps to keep the knee joint stable and helps to coordinate multiple thigh muscles.
How Does Iliotibial Band Syndrome Occur?
This syndrome is something that soccer players are highly at risk for. If part of your training involves running up and down hills, this is a major risk factor for this syndrome. If your hip muscles are weak, or if you simply overuse this band and the associated muscles, you are putting yourself at risk. Running on a surface that is angled (such as certain tracks) can also increase your risk.
Diagnosing Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Your doctor will first ask about your symptoms and your level of activity. It is important to go into as much detail as possible to assist in a proper diagnosis. Next, the route of this band will be palpated and observed to determine if it is not functioning properly. Looking for tight spots, tenderness and tension along the length of the band is done. Next, a test referred to as the Ober test is commonly used. This is done to see how tight your iliotibial band is. Your knee and hip joint range of motion is also often assessed.
Preventing Iliotibial Band Syndrome
It is important to change some things up to keep this syndrome at bay. For example, when you are running, switch directions from time to time so that this band does not get accustomed to the same surface and direction.
Stretching is very important to prevent this syndrome. It will keep this band flexible and better able to take impact. It is equally important to make sure that you are stretching properly because abnormal stretching can increase the risk of this band being susceptible to injury.