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Lateral (Outside) Knee Pain

Lateral Collateral Ligament disorders

Iliotibial band (ITB) friction syndrome (tendon inflammation)

Iliotibial band syndrome is due to inflammation of the iliotibial band, a thick band of fibrous tissue that extends down the outside of the leg from the hip to the outside of the tibia just below the knee joint. The band functions in coordination with several of the thigh muscles to provide stability to the outside of the knee joint.

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) occurs when there is irritation to this band.. The irritation usually occurs over the outside of the knee joint, at the end of the femur bone. The iliotibial band crosses bone and muscle at this point; between these structures is a bursae which should facilitate a smooth gliding motion. However, when inflamed, the iliotibial band does not glide easily, and pain associated with movement is the result. When the ITB is irritated, movement of the knee joint becomes painful. Usually the pain worsens with continued movement, and resolves with rest.

People who suddenly increase their level of activity, such as runners who increase their distances, often develop iliotibial band syndrome. Others who are prone to ITBS include individuals with mechanical problems of their gait such as people with flat feet, have leg length discrepancies, or are bow-legged.

Treatment of ITBS begins with proper footwear, icing the area of pain, and stretching. Limiting training, resting for a period of time, and incorporating low-impact cross-training activities such as swimming may also help.
Posterior cartilage (meniscus) tear

Injury Treatment

Exercises

Strengthening programs should only be commenced when:

  • The injury is not painful to touch.
  • The injury is not painful in the morning.
  • The injury is not painful to stretch.
  • The injury is not painful with light to moderate exercise.

Exercises should be 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.

Early Injury Management

For approximately the first 72 hours following an injury, the RICE regime should be followed to ensure control of inflammation and pain relief.

R - Rest

I – Ice

C - Compression

E – Elevation

Rest from aggravating activity.

Ice should be applied in the first 72 hours or when inflammation persists. Ice should be applied for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Ice should not be applied directly to the skin, but through a wet towel or cloth.

Compression can be achieved with an elastic bandage.

Elevation is used to help swelling to return to the heart through the blood stream.

The injured area should be elevated above the level of the heart.

Stretches

  • Stretches to be held for three sets of 20 to 30 seconds
  • A light warm-up such as walking, exercise bike, or range of movement exercises (moving the joint through a gentle, comfortable range) for five to ten minutes, should be undergone before stretching
  • Stretches should be held just at the first point of tension.
  • Stretching should be slow and gentle and no excessive tension or discomfort should be felt during stretching.
  • Stretches can be done to help treat an injury but should also be done before and after exercise.
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