Cyclist’s Knee

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What is Cyclist’s Knee?

By: Elizabeth Keane, ATC

Cyclist’s knee, or IT band friction syndrome, can be debilitating.

Cyclist’s Knee
A common condition seen among cyclists is iliotibial (IT) band friction syndrome. IT
band syndrome is commonly seen in cyclists who have what is called genu varum, or are
bowlegged, and have pronated, or flat, feet. Irritation develops at the insertion point of the
muscle, as well as where friction occurs, over the lateral femoral condyle on the outside of
the knee. Think of your IT band as a guitar string. When a guitar string is tight and you strum
your finger over the string repetitively, eventually your finger is going to get red and irritated
and sore. In the same way, when your IT band continuously “plucks” over the lateral femoral
condyle every time you bend and straighten your knee when cycling it will also begin to get
irritated. Treatment for this type of injury includes IT band stretching, massage and taking an
anti-inflammatory to reduce inflammation. Other management procedures may include getting a bike fit to make sure that the settings on your bike are correct for you and your level of experience.

Knee Anatomy

Frontal view of knee joint anatomy with parts labeled

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