Outside Knee Pain

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Iliotibial band syndrome is a common cause of lateral knee pain in athletes.
Iliotibial band syndrome is a common cause of lateral knee pain in athletes. (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Evonne)

Pain on the outside of the knee is known as lateral knee pain. A common cause of lateral knee pain is a condition termed iliotibial band syndrome, also known as iliotibial band friction syndrome.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

The iliotibial band is a thick fibrous band that runs from the outside of the hip along the leg down to the knee. The function of the band is to stabilize the knee; especially during activities which involve running. Iliotibial band syndrome is the irritation and inflammation that is caused by a tight or shortened iliotibial band rubbing against the outside of the knee joint through repeated knee flexion and extension

Symptoms

Symptoms of the condition include pain, tenderness, aching, sharp, stinging or burning on the outside of the knee joint. Sometimes the pain radiates up the thigh.

Risk Factors

Potential risk factors for ITBS include a preexisting tight iliotibial band, a leg length discrepancy, running high weekly mileage, interval training or weak hip abductor muscles.

Treatment

Treatment for ITBS involves rest, ice, strengthening the muscles on the outside of the hip (abductors) and stretching the IT band.

Prevention/Solution

To help prevent ITBS, correct any faulty biomechanics, wear proper footwear and stretch and strengthen the muscles around the hips and knees.

Other Causes of Lateral Knee Pain

Meniscus injuries and osteoarthritis can also cause lateral knee pain.

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