The iliotibial band is a sheath of connective tissue that connects from the pelvis to the lower leg. Its basic function is to stabilize the knee in extension and when it is slightly flexed—which means it is always in use when we are walking or running.
What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome? A fairly common overuse injury that happens due to poor mechanics repeated over long periods of time. Runners, bikers and hikers are the usual sufferers but it can even happen to people from walking up stairs.
I think it is fairly easy to diagnose—localized pain on the outside of the knee tends to be from iliotibial band syndrome. It is usually a friction type of injury that occurs where the iliotibial band passes across the lateral femoral condyle, a small bony projection at the base of the femur, or leg, bone.
Every step we take, or any time we run, the iliotibial band must pass over the bony projection of the condyle at the base of the femur. If our alignment and posture are incorrect this can eventually lead to iliotibial band syndrome.
When the pelvis is in a neutral position the iliotibial band will track straight down to the knee. If the alignment of the pelvis is not correct it will affect the alignment of the iliotibial band. When the pelvis is even slightly tucked under the tensor fasciae latae and the iliotibial band will short or tighten over time and then its repeated misuse from poor technique will lead to iliotibial band syndrome.
The only fix for iliotibial band syndrome that I know of is to improve one’s mechanics and core tone. I personally love this because this is an injury that can encourage people to move with more efficiency since no surgery or anti-inflammatory pill will make it go away.