Iliotibial band syndrome: an examination of the evidence behind a number of treatment options

The purpose of this study was to examine the area's anatomical and biomechanical properties and the strain generated in the ITB by three typical stretching maneuvers (Ober test; Hip flexion, adduction and external rotation, with added knee flexion and straight leg raise to 30°). Displacement of the Tensae Fasciae Latae (TFL)/ITB junction was measured on 20 subjects during isometric hip abduction. The ITB was uniformly a lateral thickening of the circumferential fascia lata, firmly attached along the linea aspera (femur) from greater trochanter up to and including the LFC. The microstrain values for the OBER, HIP and SLR showed marked disparity in the optimal inter-limb stretching protocol. HIP stretch invoked significantly greater strain than the SLR. TFL/ITB junction displacement was 2.0±1.6 mm and mean ITB lengthening was <0.5%.

The results of this study challenge the reasoning behind a number of accepted means of treating ITBS. Future research must focus on stretching and lengthening the muscular component of the ITB/TFL complex.

Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 23 Aug 2009, online in advance of print

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