LCL/ITB/Lateral Knee

What is lateral knee pain?

The knee is one of the largest and most complex joints in the body.  This joint joins the thigh bone (femur) to the shin bone (tibia).  There are also two other bones making the knee: the smaller bone running alongside the tibia (fibula) and the kneecap (patella).

Lateral knee pain occurs on the outer side of the knee and is most often concentrated to where the iliotibial (IT) band connects to the knee joint.  The iliotibial band is a thick group of fibers that runs from the outside of the hip to the outside of the thigh and knee, down to the top of the shinbone.  If the muscles within the knee get tight, it can lead to pain around the knee.

Common Symptoms

When experiencing a lateral knee injury, you may notice:

  • A click, pop, or snap on the outside of your knee
  • Pain up and down the leg
  • Aching, burning or tenderness on the outside of your knee
  • Warmth and redness on the outside of your knee
  • Swelling of the knee
  • Feeling as though the knee is going to give out

Causes

IT band syndrome (lateral knee pain) is most often caused by repetitively bending the knee during physical activities such as running, cycling, swimming and climbing.  When overused, the IT band can become tightened, causing tension and pain where it attaches on the outside of the knee.

Treatment

Like most biomechanical injuries and dysfunctions, lateral knee pain can be from a variety of causes/issues and treatment would reflect this.  Typically, your chiropractor would address full kinetic chain function to determine the best course of action, and then work to correct dysfunctional movement patterns and strength/coordination issues.  This will typically involve joint mobility and soft tissue mobility treatments (like adjustments, ART, Graston, Acupuncture etc) focused first on the hip knee and foot and expanding to other areas for complex, chronic or stubborn cases.

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