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What is the ITB?

The iliotibial band, frequently referred to as the ITB, is a strong thick band of connective tissue that runs from the outside of the pelvis to just beyond the outside of the knee. One of its main roles is to stabilise the hip and knee joints so with overuse injuries it is a common structure that can become inflamed, tight and therefore the source of pain and disorders of the knee and of the hip.

Associated hip disorders

A tight and inflamed ITB is often related to;

  • Snapping hip syndrome

    This is where the thickening of the ITB produces a snapping or clicking sound with certain hip movements

  • Greater trochanteric Pain syndrome

    This is where the tension of the ITB places pressure onto the outside of the hip bone and associated structures

What are the indications for ITB release surgery?

ITB release surgery is indicated when conservative management in the form of physiotherapy has not improved the symptoms of the conditions.

Physiotherapy should always be attempted first as there are usually favourable outcomes without having to resort to invasive procedures such as surgery.

ITB Release procedure

The entire procedure takes roughly 30 to 45 minutes to perform in an outpatient setting under a general or a regional anaesthetic. This is a minimally invasive arthroscopic procedure meaning there will be small incisions made, and a camera used to guide the surgeon. Another incision will be made on a small portion of the ITB to release the affected area. The small incisions are then sutured leaving minimal scarring.

The Benefits Post-Surgery

There are many benefits of ITB release surgery, including the following:

  • Elimination of pain
  • Restoration of full function
  • Return to sporting activity
  • Increase in lower limb muscle strength
  • Increased balance and proprioception

ITB release is often the last resort to regaining your previous functional ability and therefore greatly improves your quality of life and mental well-being.

Physiotherapy Rehabilitation Post-Surgery

Following surgery it is recommended that physiotherapy is started immediately. There is usually a surgery protocol in which to follow for rehabilitation that can include the following treatment;

  • Strengthening exercises

    Targeting appropriate lower limb muscle groups to recover and improve strength

  • Stretching exercises

    Helping relieve any tightness post-surgery and help biomechanics of functional movements

  • Hydrotherapy

    This could be a useful adjunct to assist with rehabilitation where the physio session is conducted in warm water

  • Gait rehabilitation

    Immediately after surgery you are encouraged to bear weight through the lower limbs and as tolerance increases gait retraining is improved with guidance from physiotherapists

  • Balance re-training and proprioception

    This is crucial in regaining control of the lower limb and is especially important in return to sport.

  • Sports specific training

    Training drills are tailor made specific to your sport to maximise your potential in your return to sport

Physiotherapy is essential for your post ITB surgery rehabilitation. To book yourself an assessment, please contact us via email at or ring us on 0330 088 7800.

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