The IT (iliotibial) band is a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs along the outside of your leg. It starts at the hip and extends to the outer side of the shinbone just below the knee joint.
The IT band works with the muscles in your thigh to provide stability to the outside of the knee joint.
IT band syndrome — also called hip bursitis — happens when the IT band becomes too tight. This can cause friction at the top of your hip or near your knee, resulting in inflammation.
When you flex and extend your knee, the IT band rubs over the thighbone and causes inflammation. When the IT band is inflamed, it doesn't glide easily. This can be painful.
People at risk of IT band syndrome are those who suddenly increase their activity level of activity, such as runners who increase their mileage.
You may also be prone to IT band syndrome if you have mechanical problems in your gait, such as:
IT band syndrome can cause pain or aching on the outer side of the knee.
Symptoms of IT band syndrome can occur in the middle or at the end of a run.
To make an appointment or learn more about IT band syndrome, contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
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IT band syndrome — or hip bursitis— often causes symptoms such as:
In most cases, doctors can diagnose IT band syndrome without any complex tests.
Because a number of conditions can cause pain on the outside of the knee, your doctor will:
Your doctor may also order x-rays to confirm an IT band syndrome diagnosis and make sure prior injuries aren't adding to the problem.
At UPMC Sports Medicine, doctors will create a treatment plan for IT band syndrome — or hip bursitis — aimed at:
IT band syndrome treatments can include:
People with IT band syndrome rarely need surgery to correct their hip problems.
Surgery involves removing the bursa, and releasing or lengthening the IT band just enough to reduce the friction when you bend and straighten your knee.
You may be able to prevent IT band syndrome, or help it from getting worse, with exercises and stretches.
Some tips to keep in mind:
To make an appointment for IT band syndrome or hip bursitis treatment, contact UPMC Sports Medicine at 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).
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