The Iliotibial (IT) band is a ligament that reaches from the hip to the outside of the bottom of the knee joint. Its main function is to supply stability to and assist with flexing the knee joint, in concert with other muscles of the thigh. When functioning normally, the band slides easily over the knee. If the underlying bursa become aggravated, a burning pain can result, usually felt on the outside of the knee. One may also experience swelling and a popping/snapping feeling when bending the knee. Less commonly, pain can also be felt at the hip and along the outside of the leg between the hip and knee. This is Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS).
When the IT band becomes inflamed, the pain can be excruciating. Because the IT band runs from the hip to the knee, there are many areas that can cause trouble. Most commonly, pain is felt either in the hip or the knee, or both, and sometimes at the areas of attachment to the bone. The pain can feel like a burning or like a bad ache and it tends to get worse at night, when you lie down to sleep.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with an orthopaedic specialist about your knee pain, please call OSC at 757-596-1900.
Return to Knee Care page.