Background: Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome is a common condition among athletes who participate in sports requiring repetitive knee flexion. Improper biomechanics, weak muscles, and overtraining are contributing factors to the development of ITB.
Objective: This literature review provides an overview of the anatomy, biomechanics, causes, treatment, and prevention of ITB syndrome.
Methods: PubMed (1960-2011) and Sports Science (1960-2011) were searched for sources related to ITB syndrome. Preference was given to more recent articles and journals with higher impact factors when possible.
Results: Forty three sources discussing ITB syndrome anatomy and biomechanics and another 155 sources discussing causes, treatment, and prevention were located out of which 57 were selected for review.
Conclusion: Evidence shows that a variety of intrinsic and extrinsic factors contribute to developing ITB syndrome. Intrinsic factors can often be the result of weak or inhibited muscles, such as the gluteus maximus and gluteus minimus. Extrinsic factors include training habits, including shoe type and increasing training schedules too rapidly. A consensus of literature agrees that proper biomechanics are the critical factor in prevention. Numerous treatment plans have been developed, but none have demonstrated clearly superior outcomes. The best results are obtained with rest during the acute and subacute stages followed by strengthening exercises. More research is needed using objective outcome measures.
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