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Iliotibial Band Syndrome- What Is It and What Can You Do To Heal It

Commonly experienced by people who are into cycling, running, weight-lifting, long-distance walking, hiking, or any other activity where the knees are repeatedly bent, Iliotibial band syndrome is a common knee injury that causes swelling, irritation, and pain on the lateral aspect of the knee. This irksome strain injury primarily besets runners and sometimes people who’ve had knee surgery. It is caused because of friction between the iliotibial band and lateral epicondyle of the femur, which provides fastening to the fibular collateral ligament of the knee joint.

The iliotibial band is a group of fibers (fascia) that run the length of the outside of your thigh. When this band becomes too tight, you will see swelling and pain on the side of your knee. Other reasons could include having tight muscles in your leg or hip, having legs of unequal lengths, and walking on slanted surfaces.

Diagnosis and Treatment
A doctor will first take a look at your symptoms, then he/she will inquire about your activities and medical history to see whether you are suffering from this syndrome or not. Usually, the pain caused by this syndrome disappears after a few weeks if proper self-care is taken. Doctors suggest some exercises and stretch as methods to help you cure this excruciating pain. You’ll be advised to use a foam roller and do massage on the affected area. Your doctor may recommend you to a physical therapist as well. There are certain cases in which doctors use a shot of steroid medicine to ease the pain.

Things That You Do On Your Own
The first thing you should do is cease engaging in activities or alter them that have been putting pressure on your iliotibial band. Other things that you can do to heal the band include the following:

  • Buy ice wraps for knee and use them for about 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours
  • You can do ice massage by freezing water in a Styrofoam cup. Expose the ice by taking off the cup’s top surface and apply it to the affected area for about 10 minutes. You can do this several times throughout the day
  • Take anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen, or the ones prescribed by your doctor

If medicines, ice therapy, rest, physical therapy, and other methods do not relieve your knee pain even after 6 months, a doctor might suggest that you go for a surgery.