Classic history and presentation: This overuse injury is most commonly seen in individuals who have recently increased activities that require repetitive knee flexion and extension, most commonly running and cycling. Runners with ITBS may have begun running for the first time, more often, or for longer distances. Patients initially complain of vaguely localized aching over the lateral aspect of the knee without a specific point of tenderness. With continued activity, the pain may progress to become sharper and more localized to the lateral femoral condyle. Patients may initially report that the pain only occurs after or towards the end of a run. As the condition progresses, symptoms may occur soon after starting a run or even at rest.
- Age – There is no definitive data published regarding prevalence of ITBS by age group.
- Sex / gender – Both sexes are affected, although it is thought to be more common in women.
Extrinsic risk factors include downhill running, a sudden increase in running or cycling mileage, and running with excessively long strides, all of which increase distal iliotibial band strain.
Pathophysiology: Although the exact pathophysiology of ITBS is unclear, it is considered a combination of repetitive strain at the distal iliotibial band and friction against the lateral femoral condyle, which causes local irritation, pain, and possibly inflammation.
Grade / classification system: A symptom-based grading system for ITBS in runners was proposed by Lindenberg et al (1984).
- Grade I: Pain occurs after running without limitation on running distance or speed
- Grade II: Pain occurs during running without limitation on running distance or speed
- Grade III: Pain occurs during running and distance or speed is limited
- Grade IV: Pain prohibits running