Iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBS) is a reactive inflammation under the iliotibial band, just above where the lower part of the thigh bone meets the knee. Managing the symptoms (pain, sometimes cracking or popping noises) can be as simple as rest but may extend to medicines and/or injections, and in extreme cases may require surgery.
Curing the problem may be more difficult and of longer duration. The diagnosis is made on the basis of examination, X-ray to rule out other problems, and sometimes an MRI examination. The causes of ITBS may be complex and can include overuse; improper footwear; poor running mechanics; and structural problems of the lower body including leg length, foot position and posture, and weakness and tightness of the soft tissues of the lower leg.
Proper evaluation by a medical professional is the key to curing the problem. Specialists at HSS are familiar with runner’s issues and can help diagnose and set you on the right path.
Dr. Thomas Wickiewicz is an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery. He specializes in sports medicine, meniscus surgery, ACL surgery, and shoulder surgery. He spent eight years as Assistant Team Physician for the New York Giants, and he now serves as the Head Team Physician for all Division 1A College sports at St. Peter’s College. Dr. Wickiewicz has published over 100 scientific papers on his extensive research on knee and shoulder surgery and given more than 200 invited presentations.