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Iliotibial Band Syndrome - Topic Overview

The iliotibial band is a band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh. It provides stability to the knee and hip and helps prevent dislocation of those joints. The band may overdevelop, tighten, and rub across the hipbone or the outer part of the knee. Each time the knee is bent or the hip flexed, the band rubs against bone. This is particularly common in runners, cyclists, and people who participate in other aerobic activities.

Symptoms of iliotibial band syndrome include:

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  • Pain on the outside of the knee or hip.
  • Snapping hip pain as the iliotibial band snaps back and forth over the point of the hip (greater trochanter).
  • Pain that generally disappears as the band is stretched out and becomes more flexible.
  • Pain that improves with rest.

Iliotibial band syndrome is treated with rest, medicines to relieve swelling and pain, and stretching exercises as instructed by a physical therapist or sports medicine doctor. Steroid injections at the most tender spot are sometimes helpful.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 02, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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