Iliotibial Band Syndrome - Treatment

After a diagnosis of iliotibial band syndrome, what was the treatment or therapy?

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What is the treatment for iliotibial band syndrome?

Iliotibial band syndrome is an overuse injury that causes inflammation. Initial treatment includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE).

Anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Anaprox, Aleve), may be helpful. Please be aware that over-the-counter medications like these can have potential side effects and interactions with prescription medications and it is worthwhile asking your care provider or pharmacist whether they are safe to take.

Should treatments not work, physical therapy may be needed to decrease the inflammation at the IT band. Some treatments focus on flexibility and stretching. Friction rubbing may occur over the IT band at the femoral epicondyle to break down inflammation and scarring.

Therapeutic ultrasound techniques may be used, including phonopheresis (ultrasound propels anti-inflammatory medications through the skin into the inflamed tissue) and iontophoresis (electricity is used instead of ultrasound).

The physical therapist may also help evaluate the underlying cause of the problem and look at muscle strength and balance and/or flexibility and gait analysis (watching a person walk or run). Shoe orthotics may be useful if there is a gait problem, pelvic tilt, or leg-length discrepancy as a potential cause of IT band syndrome.

It is rare that the conservative nonsurgical treatment fails to help. However, orthopedic surgery may be an option for patients who fail conservative treatment. Arthroscopy can be used to find the inflammation surrounding the iliotibial band and cut it away. The IT band itself can also potentially be lengthened.

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