The biomechanical variables involved in the aetiology of iliotibial band syndrome in distance runners

The authors’ goal for this review of the literature was to identify the biomechanical variables involved in the aetiology of iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) in distance runners. An electronic search was conducted using the terms “iliotibial band” and “iliotibial tract”. The results showed that runners with a history of ITBS seem to exhibit decreased rear foot eversion, tibial internal rotation and hip adduction angles at heel strike while having greater maximum internal rotation angles at the knee and decreased total abduction and adduction range of motion at the hip during stance phase. They also seem to experience greater invertor moments at their feet, decreased abduction and flexion velocities at their hips and to reach maximum hip flexion angles earlier than healthy controls. Maximum normalised braking forces seem to be decreased in these athletes. The literature is not conclusive as it relates to muscle strength deficits in runners with a history of ITBS.

They concluded that the prospective research indicates that greater internal rotation at the knee joint and increased adduction angles of the hip may play a role in the aetiology of ITBS and that the strain rate in the iliotibial bands of these runners may be increased compared to healthy controls. They were unable to devise a clear biomechanical cause for ITBS due to the scarcity of prospective research.

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