Rehabilitation for Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The iliotibial band is a band of tissue that runs along the outside of the leg from the hip to just below the knee, providing functionality and stability to the knee joint and surrounding area. Iliotibial band syndrome occurs when this band becomes so tight and inflamed that it rubs against the outer portion of the femur, causing irritation and instability to the knee joint. Also known as IT band syndrome, this condition often occurs in people who are physically active, such as runners or cyclists.

IT band syndrome is often treated with conservative methods to reduce pain and swelling and may include applying ice to the affected area, anti-inflammatory medication and rest. Physical therapy is an important part of the rehabilitation process for individuals with iliotibial band syndrome. The goal of physical therapy treatment is to reduce pain and inflammation, stretch and strengthen the iliotibial band and muscles, and help the patient to return to all physical activity.

Initial treatment may involve sports massage to help relieve tension and stretching exercises to initiate healing. Strengthening exercises are gradually added to build leg muscle strength, and swimming may be recommended as an initial activity that can be enjoyed without irritating the iliotibial band. A physical therapist may also work with the patient to develop methods for exercises to prevent further injury. After several weeks of physical therapy treatment, patients can gradually return to regular activity and exercise.

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