Iliotibial band syndrome…the other “biker’s knee”

We tend to see iliotibial band problems with early season riders who don’t yet have their conditioning right and when hill climbing training is in full force. Cypress, Seymour and Baker here we come! It presents as pain on the outside of the knee and is the result of too much friction at the point the band crosses over at the outside bottom of the thigh bone(femur) with each of our 5400 pedal strokes per hour (at a cadence of 90).

I never see this problem without their being associated muscle imbalance at the hip. As you can see from the anatomy diagram, the band finishes at the outside of the knee but is tensioned from the muscle attachments up at the pelvis, both front and back. Regaining full flexibility and strength balance in these groups is the key to a full and long lasting recovery.

Pedal setup is also important. Excessive toe in tends to aggravate as does poor foot control inside the cycle cleat. Choice of insole can make a significant improvement almost immediately.

Immediate management is ice, ice and ice. Rest is important to allow acute pain to settle and anti inflammatories can help. We may need to temporarily adjust cleat rotation or tilt as well. Longer term attention to both muscle balance and cycling technique is in order. Both Matt and Jennifer are experienced cyclists and bike fitters. Come and see us in the clinic where a thorough physio assessment will help you back to full activity as soon as possible.

Stay with your team with help from our team.

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