The iliotibial band: a complex structure with versatile functions

Review written by Dr Carlo Wood info

Key Points

  1. The TFL has no active role at the knee but is a stabilizer.
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The biomechanics and anatomy of the iliotibial band (ITB) is poorly understood and highlights the need to improve our knowledge for better clinical reasoning. The purpose of this article was to analyze anatomical and biomechanical information to improve our understanding of how the mechanical function of the ITB is influenced by anatomical variation, posture and muscle activation.

The biomechanics and anatomy of the ITB is poorly understood.
Interventions that directly target running biomechanics suspected to increase ITB strain, and subsequent compressive loads acting on the lateral knee, may have promise for treating ITB syndrome.


The percentage of gluteus maximus (Gmax) and tensor facia latae (TFL) that inserts into the ITB varies. The superior Gmax inserts into the ITB and the inferior portion, inserted into the femur, transmits less force. Each contributes to different functions.

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