Osteopathy Treats Iliotibial Band Syndrome

By Dr Guy Ashburner | March 3, 2014

Osteopathy Treats Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Osteopathy Treats Iliotibial Band Syndrome which is an overuse problem that is often seen in cyclists, runners, and long distance walkers. It causes pain on the outside of the knee just above the joint. This pain may radiate up the thigh or down the outer side of the shin during activity and settles when the person rests. However, in some cases it can also be extremely uncomfortable going up or down stairs. The discomfort may keep athletic people from participating in the activities they enjoy.

ITB stands for ilio tibial band. The iliotibial band is a band of strong connective tissue (fascia) that runs the entire length of the thigh, from the top of the hip to knee. As the band passes over a bony prominence just to the outer side of the knee it is prone to friction as the knee is straightened during cycling and running.

Musculoskeletal causes include; excessive foot pronation, high foot arches, bow legs, leg-length differences, muscle imbalance e.g. tight gluteus maximus and tensor fascia lata.

Causative factors include incorrect bicycle cleat positioning, saddle too high or too far back, inappropriate, inflexible or worn running shoes, increasing training distance too quickly leading to muscle fatigue and poor form and running on cambered road surfaces.

In the treatment of ITBS osteopaths seek to obtain an understanding of the entire biomechanical picture. Osteopaths want to identify the cause of you pain, not just treat the symptoms. Osteopathic evaluation of the pelvic joints (sacroiliac joints) and lumbar spine function is essential as dysfunction in these areas may contribute to weakness of the gluteal muscles. This is often missed in the diagnosis of ITB syndrome and therefore you often find rehabilitation and soft tissue treatment efforts are ineffective leading to recurring problems.

Identifying and correcting the reason the structures are tight and/ or weak in the first place. This would include addressing any ergonomic issues. Beyond that the cause will usually relate to faulty hip and/or foot mechanics. Osteopaths will typically work on both the joint and muscle aspects of the problem with manipulation and various soft-tissue techniques including myofascial release and specific osteopathic sports massage to ensure optimum movement and therefore function.


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