BODY OF KNOWLEDGE: ANATOMY OF THE IT BAND
Also known as the iliotibial tract, the IT band is a multipurpose tendon that runs down the length of the outer thigh, from the top of the pelvis (ilium) to the shin bone (tibia). It connects the tensor fasciae latae muscle (a hip flexor) and gluteus maximus (the largest butt muscle, a hip extensor, and external rotator) to the outside of the tibia. The IT band is responsible for keeping your hips and knees stable, particularly during rapid, explosive moves like running and jumping. Think of the thick fascia of the IT band like a well-tensioned bridge that links the pelvis and knee. That fascia also envelops your quadriceps muscles and tapers into the knee joint capsule.
When the two muscles that attach at the top section of the IT band—the tensor fasciae latae and gluteus maximus—contract, it adds tension to the IT band, which helps to stabilize your knee-to-hip relationship. But too much use (or underuse) from one of these muscles can overstress your IT band and tug on your outer knee, leading to pain.
This is the uppermost and largest part of the hip bone; it’s a wide, flat bone that provides many attachment points for muscles of the hip and trunk.
TENSOR FASCIAE LATAE
This small muscle lies in front of the hip joint and is one of the connection points for the IT band.
This thick, fascial tissue serves as the tendinous insertion for the gluteus maximus and tensor fascia latae. It is the outer border of the vastus lateralis (outer quadriceps) muscle and acts as a fascial envelope for the quadriceps group.
Also known as the shinbone, it is the larger and stronger of the two bones below the knee.
The largest and most superficial of the three gluteal muscles, this is the main extensor muscle of the hip and the other connection point for the IT band.