Sunday, July 5, 2020

Iliotibial Band Pain In Runners

The ITB originates from the TFL
I had a patient this week that was suffering from Iliotibial band (ITB) pain and he was so fed up with the pain that he was considering getting a steroidcortisone injection to get rid of the pain. He sent me an article he'd found for me to ask for my opinion.

Having previously suffered from Iliotibial band or ITB syndrome myself before, I'll naturally read any article I'd come across about the ITB.
The ITB over the Vastus Lateralis muscle
The article itself wasn't so interesting even though the authors got a good result after their intervention. The authors concluded that a steroidcortisone injection was effective in reducing ITB pain in runners in the first two weeks of treatment.

I'm not a fan at all when it comes to injecting steroid (or cortisone) to treat any sporting injuries. I written previously that often the cause of the problem is from the hip. For best results, you treat the cause of the problem.

As I've written previously, if you're an athlete or exercising regularly, you definitely do not want a steroidcortisone injection since there is a very high chance of degenerative changes in the surrounding area of the steroid injection. You can read about how my patient tore his forearm flexor tendon after repeated steroid injections.

Anyway, what intrigued me about this article was the small sample size and how long it took to recruit the runners (it took two whole years). The authors managed to recruit 45 runners but only 18 fulfilled the criteria and finished the study.

There was an attempt to have a longer follow up period, but there was too much variability in the second phase treatment of the condition. Their return to running, distance ran, rehabilitation program, change in footwear and use of orthotics etc.

Most of the eligible runners did not want to stop running during the 2-week intervention period. Exactly what I said about athletes (not wanting to rest) in my interview which you can see here. This shows the challenge of recruiting runners for research.

How about you? If you were recruited for a running research and asked to stop running for 2 weeks for the sake of research, would you comply? I'd like to hear your views.


Gunther P and Schwellung MP (2004). Local Corticosteroid Injection In Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome In Runners: A Randomised Controlled Trial. BJSM. 38(3): 269-272. DOI: 10.1136/bjsm.2003.000283.

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