Detailed guides to painful problems, treatments & more

Do iliotibial band tightness and patellofemoral pain go together?

PainSci » bibliography » Hudson et al 2009
Tags: IT band pain, patellar pain, knee, leg, limbs, pain problems, overuse injury, injury, running, exercise, self-treatment, treatment, tendinosis, arthritis, aging

Two articles on PainSci cite Hudson 2009: 1. The Complete Guide to IT Band Syndrome2. The Complete Guide to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome

PainSci commentary on Hudson 2009: ?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.

Twelve subjects with patellofemoral pain were compared with twelve others with no pain. The researchers found a “highly significant difference” between them and concluded (too overconfidently, given how few people they studied) that “subjects presenting with PFPS do have a tighter ITB.” Showing a little more restraint, they refrained from assuming that a tighter ITB actually causes patellofemoral pain, and wrote that “future work should investigate this observation prospectively in order to determine whether a tight ITB is the cause or effect of PFPS.”

This is one of only two studies of IT band tightness that I know of. The other, Devan et al, did not find any connection between tightness and knee problems.

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

Tight lateral structures have been implicated in subjects presenting with patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS). It has been proposed that a tight iliotibial band (ITB) through its attachment of the lateral retinaculum into the patella could cause lateral patella tracking, patella tilt and compression. Twelve subjects presenting with PFPS were compared with 12 matched control subjects. Hip adduction was measured using the Ober test in each subject as an indirect measure of ITB length. The mean values for hip adduction in the control group were 21.4 (+/-4.9) and 20.3 (+/-3.8) degrees in the left and right legs, respectively, and in the PFPS group, 17.3 (+/-6.1) and 14.9 (+/-4.2) degrees in the non-painful leg and painful leg, respectively. One way analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed a highly significant difference between groups (F=4.485, p=0.008) and post-hoc analysis showed a significant difference between the painful leg in the PFPS group and the left and right legs in the control group, p=0.002 and 0.009, respectively. The results from this study show that subjects presenting with PFPS do have a tighter ITB. Future work should investigate this observation prospectively in order to determine whether a tight ITB is the cause or effect of PFPS.

related content

This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: