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ITB and sciatica can often be confused

Sciatica or ITB (Iliotibial Band)?

Sciatica, one of those wonderful medical terms which we now use in everyday conversation to cover a whole host of aches and pains.

Real, true sciatica is only from problems in the disc L3 in your lower back and symptoms include:

  • Pain in the buttocks or leg, often worse when sitting.
  • Burning, tingling or “pins and needles” down the leg.
  • Weakness, numbness, or difficulty moving the leg or foot.
  • A constant pain on one side.
  • Shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up

But what about other conditions that can be confused with sciatica?

  1. Nerve problems from other discs – medical sciatica is only from L3 disc, however other discs in the lower back can cause similar symptoms into the legs, feet and buttocks.
  2. Hip Pain – Bursitis, tendonitis, referred pain from the lower back or knee as well as arthritis in the hip joint can all cause pain in the hip, buttock, outer thigh and lower back.
  3. Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB)

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB)?

The Iliotibial Band (ITB) is a thick band of fascia that runs along the outside of the thigh from the top of the hip to the outside of your knee. And it is crucial for stabilising the knee.

ITB Symptoms

  • Hip pain going up or down stairs or getting out of a car
  • Pain as the foot strikes the ground
  • Tingly sensation over the thigh.
  • Pain at the pelvis or the outer edge of the knee

Causes of ITB

  • Flat feet twisting the leg inwards.
  • Poor pelvic stability
  • Weak gluteal or thigh muscles
  • Over training the legs
  • Lack of knee extension (getting the knee completely straight)
  • Previous hip or knee surgery

What can I do?

The first step is always to get a thorough clinical assessment and correct diagnosis.

Then some physiotherapy to reduce the inflammation. Long term it may be as simple as altering your training routine, properly supporting your feet and using some myofascial tape to support you while the inflammation reduces.

Or book a Free 15 minute telephone consultation to find out how we can help.


7 myths about back pain by Estelle Mitchell Consultant Physiotherpist at Bodyworks Clinic Marbella

7 things your doctor didn’t tell you about back pain

Complete the form below to get Estelle’s simple free guide to resolving back pain.

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