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.
Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome is a common overuse injury in runners and cyclists. It is regarded as a friction syndrome where the ITB rubs against (and 'rolls over') the lateral femoral epicondyle. Here, we re-evaluate the clinical anatomy of the region to challenge the view that the ITB moves antero-posteriorly over the epicondyle. Gross anatomical and microscopical studies were conducted on the distal portion of the ITB in 15 cadavers. This was complemented by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of six asymptomatic volunteers and studies of two athletes with acute ITB syndrome. In all cadavers, the ITB was anchored to the distal femur by fibrous strands, associated with a layer of richly innervated and vascularized fat. In no cadaver, volunteer or patient was a bursa seen. The MR scans showed that the ITB was compressed against the epicondyle at 30 degrees of knee flexion as a consequence of tibial internal rotation, but moved laterally in extension. MR signal changes in the patients with ITB syndrome were present in the region occupied by fat, deep to the ITB. The ITB is prevented from rolling over the epicondyle by its femoral anchorage and because it is a part of the fascia lata. We suggest that it creates the illusion of movement, because of changing tension in its anterior and posterior fibres during knee flexion. Thus, on anatomical grounds, ITB overuse injuries may be more likely to be associated with fat compression beneath the tract, rather than with repetitive friction as the knee flexes and extends.
- “An anatomic study of the iliotibial tract,” Eduardo Luis Cruells Vieira, Eduardo Alvaro Vieira, Rogerio Teixeira da Silva, Paulo Augusto dos Santos Berlfein, Rene Jorge Abdalla, and Moises Cohen, Arthroscopy, 2007.
- “Effects of simulated vastus medialis strength variation on patellofemoral joint biomechanics in human cadaver knees,” TQ Lee, MD Sundusky, A Adeli, and PJ McMahon, Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development Vol, 2002.
- “Iliotibial band syndrome: an examination of the evidence behind a number of treatment options,” E C Falvey, R A Clark, A Franklyn-Miller, A L Bryant, C Briggs, and P R McCrory, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 2010.
- “The deep layer of the tractus iliotibialis and its relevance when using the direct anterior approach in total hip arthroplasty: a cadaver study,” David Putzer, Matthias Haselbacher, Romed Hörmann, Günter Klima, and Michael Nogler, Archives of Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgery, 2017.
These four articles on PainScience.com cite Fairclough 2006 as a source:
- PS Save Yourself from IT Band Syndrome! — All your treatment options for Iliotibial Band Syndrome reviewed in great detail, with clear explanations of recent scientific research supporting every key point
- PS Save Yourself from Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome! — Patellofemoral pain syndrome (aka runner’s knee) explained and discussed in great detail, including every imaginable self-treatment option and all the available scientific evidence
- PS IT Band Stretching Does Not Work — Stretching the iliotibial band is a popular idea, but it’s very hard to do it right, and it’s probably not worth it
- PS Does the IT Band Move After All? — An ultrasound study says it does, debunking my debunkery
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:
- A Bayesian model-averaged meta-analysis of the power pose effect with informed and default priors: the case of felt power. Gronau 2017 Comprehensive Results in Social Psychology.
- The neck and headaches. Bogduk 2014 Neurol Clin.
- Agreement of self-reported items and clinically assessed nerve root involvement (or sciatica) in a primary care setting. Konstantinou 2012 Eur Spine J.
- Effect of NSAIDs on Recovery From Acute Skeletal Muscle Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Morelli 2017 Am J Sports Med.
- Association of Spinal Manipulative Therapy With Clinical Benefit and Harm for Acute Low Back Pain: Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Paige 2017 JAMA.