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Iliotibial band friction syndrome: A common cause of lateral knee pain in long-distance runners

1 Department of Radiodiagnosis and Imaging, Command Hospital (AF), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Pathology, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Radiodiagnosis and Imaging, Command Hospital, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Pooja Gupta,
Department of Radiodiagnosis and Imaging, Command Hospital (AF), Agram Post, Bengaluru - 560 007, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmms.jmms_49_22

Introduction: Iliotibial band friction syndrome (ITBFS) is an injury of the knee joint which is common in long distance runners and cyclists. It is caused by repetitive friction between the iliotibial band and the lateral femoral epicondyle during active flexion and extension of the knee. Methods: Magnetic resonance imaging of the knee was performed for 45 long distance runners who presented with lateral knee pain after long distance running for 6 months. The analysis of the images was done by two radiologists in all the three planes to confirm or rule out any findings suggestive of ITBFS. The various imaging features which were noted in the MRI scans by the radiologists to label it as ITBFS were poorly defined abnormal signal intensity deep to the iliotibial band as the primary finding and other associated MRI findings such as fluid collection medial to the iliotibial band, increased thickness of the iliotibial band and joint effusion. Results: Out of these 45 runners 30 patients had ITBFS, 3 had lateral collateral ligament sprain, 3 had a grade III tear of the lateral meniscus, 3 had synovial effusion and six had normal scans. Discussion: Iliotibial band friction syndrome occurs because of overuse and can be confused with other disorders and MRI is able to differentiate it from other conditions.

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