Runner experiencing joint pain

Iliotibial Band Syndrome or Why is the outside of my thigh killing me?

There are a number of reasons you might have intense pain on the outside of your thigh, but most often, especially in runners and soccer players, Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) is to blame. ITBS is named for the iliotibial band, the tendon that runs along the outer thigh from the hip to the kneecap. When that band is pulled and becomes inflamed, the resulting tendonitis is known as ITBS.

At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our physiatrists are specialists in pain relief so healing ITBS is right up our alley. If you are suffering pain in the described region, contact us for a consultation. 

We will give you a thorough physical exam and use advanced diagnostic equipment to determine whether the cause of your discomfort is ITBS or some other injury or condition. 

Once we know the source of your pain, we have many nonsurgical treatment methods, both traditional and complementary, to help you heal as quickly as possible.

Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Although the first signs of ITBS are usually apparent after exercise, they typically worsen until the patient is constantly troubled by:

  • Hip and knee pain
  • Clicking sensations on the outside of the knee
  • Warmth, redness, and possible discoloration on the outside of the knee

The aching and burning sensation of ITBS will make exercise difficult and then impossible. Left untreated, it will interfere with your normal daily routine.

Who is most likely to develop ITBS?

Although anyone can develop the condition, athletes who engage in the following sports are most prone to ITBS: 

  • Running (especially long-distance running)
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Cycling
  • Hockey 
  • Skiing

Congenital conditions may also make you more susceptible to ITBS. If you have any of the following you are more likely to strain your iliotibial tendon:

  • Bowed legs
  • One leg longer than the other
  • Arthritis of the knee
  • Pronounced foot pronation, turning the foot inward
  • Weakness in your hip, gluteal or abdominal muscles
  • Preexisting IT band tightness

Since the symptoms of Iliotibial band syndrome can last for many months, it is important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Our doctors have the experience, skill, and variety of treatment modalities to relieve your pain and accelerate your recovery.

Diagnosing Iliotibial Syndrome

In many cases, to a trained professional, ITBS is evident during a physical exam. Even so, we always want to be sure that you have no other underlying conditions, such as a stress fracture or a meniscal tear, complicating the problem. For this reason, we may administer one or more diagnostic tests, e.g. MRI scan or ultrasound.

The Many Ways We Treat ITBS at LI Spine Rehabilitation Medicine

In addition to customized physical therapy designed to gradually restore full functionality, we offer several therapeutic methods that we have successfully used in combination to hasten recovery from ITBS. These include:

  • Individualized physical therapy programs to address the soft tissue components and deficiencies predisposing to injury
  • The judicious use of prescribed medications
  • Ultrasound-guided steroid injections to relieve pain and inflammation directly at the site
  • PEMF (Pulsed Electromagnetic Field) therapy, which not only treats pain and inflammation but also increases blood flow to promote more rapid healing
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to accelerate healing
  • Acupuncture to address pain and inflammation

As holistic doctors dedicated to treating you as a whole person, we will always take your personal preferences into consideration when deciding which therapies are right for you. Contact Our ITBS Specialists Today for Excellent and Caring Treatment.