Runners Knee (IIotibial Band Syndrome – ITB)

ITB syndrome (sometimes called runners knee) causes pain on the outside of the knee. The ITB is a thick band of fibrous tissue, called connective tissue, that runs down the outside of the leg from the pelvis to the knee. Some of the hip and buttock muscles attach into the ITB.The function of the ITB is to stabilise the leg during activity. ITB syndrome is the most common knee injury in runners accounting for approximately 22% of knee injuries in runners.

It is an overuse injury which commonly occurs when runners suddenly increase their mileage. Camber of the running surface, hill running, worn running shoes and altered biomechanics of the foot and leg may also play a part.

SYMPTOMS

May include:

– dull, sharp or burning pain on the outside of the knee which increases with running

– Swelling and tenderness on the outside aspect of the knee

– Popping or snapping sensation when bending the knee

DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosis is based purely on history taking and examination of your knee by your GP or healthcare professional.

Further tests such as x-rays are not normally required.

MANAGEMENT:

  • Ice therapy – wrap the ice pack in a towel and place it over the affected area for 10-20 minutes. Repeat this every few hours.
  • Rest from running & aggravating activities
  • Strengthening exercises for hip & knee muscles
  • Stretches
  • Podiatry assessment if you have overpronated/ flat feet to see whether you will benefit from insoles
  • If failing to settle with above management see your GP to discuss a physiotherapy referral

Click on the arrow below to view suitable exercise for runners knee.

PREVENTION

  • Keep muscles flexible by regular stretching and stronger with regular strengthening exercises
  • Appropriate footwear when running, replace worn trainers
  • Mix up types of running surfaces e.g. hill & flat ground
  • Avoid running on cambered surfaces
  • If running on a track with tight turns run in both directions
  • Do not increase weekly running mileage by more than 10% a week
  • Have a rest day after long runs

USEFUL LINKS

https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/running-injuries.aspx – information about runners knee

https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/knee-exercises.aspx – exercises for runners knee

www.nhs.uk/Conditions/knee-pain – general advice about the management of knee pain

www.sheffieldachesandpains.com – information about runners knee (ITB syndrome)

www.knee-pain-explained.com – information about runners knee (ITB syndrome)

https://www.nhsinform.Scot/injuries/muscle-bone-and-joint-injuries-problems – general advice about the management of knee pain