The iliotibial band, or ITB,

runs down the side of the

upper leg and can suffer

from inflammation often as

a result of overuse and poor


What is the iliotibial band (ITB)?

The ITB is a band of thick tendon tissue stretching from the outer rim of the pelvis down the side of the leg, over the outside of the knee and attaching to the tibia. Often inflammation can occur where the structure rubs on the outside of the knee joint. Sometimes the bursa is also affected.

What are the symptoms and causes?

Symptoms onset can often be gradual. Tightness can be felt on the outside of the knee which can then turn into a buring or stinging sensation often felt during running. The discomfort can cause the runner to to stop running where the discomfort can quickly subside. If the runner resumes his run, pain can resume. Such pain can often be felt more acutely when running downhill or walking downstairs. When symptoms are severe, the pain forces the athlete to walk with a stretched out leg to avoid the pain causes by the friction of the ITB over the knee joint.

Repetitive exercises such as running or cycling are a common cause as they require repetitive bending and straightening of the knee. Those who inadequately warm up, those who suddenly increase their training volume, those who change their running shoe type and those running on sloped surfaces are especially at risk. Those with anatomical abnormalities such as bow leggedness can also be at further risk. Runners, ballet dancers, cyclist and skiers can be particularly at risk.

What can you or your Doctor do?

For a mild case of ITB syndrome try to rest from any activity that you feel may have caused the inflammation. Consider other cardio training such as swimming that won’t aggravate any current inflammation. Consider stretching the ITB as per the example here

As for your Doctor , he or she may prescribe anti inflammatory medication, recommend shoe inserts if there are anatomical anomalies and at the extreme end of severity, he or she may recommend a surgical release of the ITB.

Recovery from ITB syndromes using conventional methods, depending on severity, can be anywhere from a few weeks to months.

Can I speed up the healing process and possibly prevent recurrence using Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine?

The Gallbladder channel

traverses the area of the

ITB band. Treating this

channel with acupuncture

and enhancing the health of

the liver can be important

strategies to help heal ITB

syndromes and prevent


At Authentic Acupuncture clinic in Balmain, located in Sydney’s Inner West, principle practitioner Brendan C. Meek has been treating clients for more than 20 years. From weekend warriors to Olympic athletes, Brendan has helped individuals recover from syndromes such as ITB and other sports related injuries over many years.

When it comes to ITB syndromes specifically, it is important to assess each individuals current health or lack there of, and to design a specific treatment that will best relieve the ITB syndrome inflammation in the short term and to help prevents it’s relapse. This involves assessing the body’s recovery system, such as sleep and digestive powers, and helping to influence corrections through acupuncture and Chinese herbal prescriptions to enhance the body’s own ability to resolve and keep inflammation at bay. Local treatment to relieve the ITB syndrome can be straightforward, however, ‘dry needling’ therapies alone are often insufficient to deal with more severe or complicated cases and relapse can occur. This is why a comprehensive acupuncture treatment involves not only treating the symptom along the course of the affected channel, in this case the Gallbladder channel, but also stimulating other specific individually determined points to maximise the bodies healing potential and prevent relapse. This type of treatment is called holistic.

If you are looking for acupuncture near me or acupuncture in Balmain for the treatment of ITB syndrome or other sports injuries, contact Brendan at Authentic Acupuncture clinic to arrange an appointment. Call us on (02) 9188 1560 or submit an inquiry on the home page.

We look forward to helping you soon!

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