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Iliotibial (IT) Band Tendonitis of the Hip

Iliotibial band (IT) tendonitis, also called iliotibial band (IT) syndrome, is a condition characterized by inflammation that affects the iliotibial (IT) band of the upper leg. The IT band runs along the outer part of the thigh, from the hip to the knee. It consists of connective tissue called, fascia, that connects the buttock and hip muscles to the top of the shin bone. In fact, the IT band is the largest fascia in the body and helps to stabilize the knee while running.

Iliotibial (IT) Band Tendonitis of the Hip Hero Image 2

Iliotibial band (IT) tendonitis, also called iliotibial band (IT) syndrome, is a condition characterized by inflammation that affects the iliotibial (IT) band of the upper leg. The IT band runs along the outer part of the thigh, from the hip to the knee. It consists of connective tissue called, fascia, that connects the buttock and hip muscles to the top of the shin bone. IT band tendonitis is most common in runners.

What causes Iliotibial (IT) Band Tendonitis of the Hip?

IT band tendonitis is a non-traumatic injury that is brought on by overuse. It usually occurs in runners when the band is tight or has been overworked. Common causes of IT band tendonitis include:

• Overtraining
• Running only one course
• Wearing footwear that is worn out
• Improper foot mechanics
• Failing to stretch sufficiently

Iliotibial (IT) band tendonitis is common in these sports:

• Long distance running or marathon running
• Soccer
• Tennis

Symptoms

You may have IT band tendonitis if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

• Pain on the outside of the hip along the IT band
• Pain with sleeping on the hip
• Pain that increases when climbing or descending stairs

When to see a doctor

If you notice pain on the outside of the hip that does not resolve on its own, make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist, as this may indicate inflammation of the IT band. During your appointment, your doctor will check for tenderness by touching the outside of your hip. He/she will also assess the flexibility of the leg by having you perform various stretches, like the Ober’s test.

In order to make a diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe the following imaging tests to rule out other causes of hip pain:

• X-ray
• MRI

Non-operative treatment

IT band tendonitis is treated using conservative, non-operative methods. Treatment for IT band tendonitis may include:

• Rest
• Stretching (this is a key factor in IT band tendonitis treatment)
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, like ibuprofen, to reduce inflammation

As improper foot and training mechanics may contribute to IT band tendonitis, your doctor may recommend the following treatments to reduce the risk of developing IT band tendonitis in the future:

• Correcting training errors
• Finding proper shoe wear to encourage proper foot mechanics

You can also try these exercises at home to stretch the iliotibial (IT) band:

Surgical Treatment

IT band tendonitis does not require surgery and is almost always treated conservatively, using non-operative treatments.

Recovery

You can return to training when you have no pain and have regained flexibility in the leg. When you are recovering from IT band tendonitis, it is important that you return to running gradually. You will also need to make sure that you warm up carefully and stretch both before and after exercising.

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