The iliotibial band is one of the longest and most overlooked parts of the human body. There is a chance that you have stretched it, unintentionally while: playing basketball, swimming, running long distance, playing volleyball, or even chasing your run-away children. Any activity that takes side to side movements used this band.
In my opinion, it is called a “band” as opposed to a muscle or tendon because it is a combination of a few things. This band, starts at the bottom of the pelvis, connected to three different parts gluteus region (the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and vastus lateralis). At this point the band is a muscle, as it extends down the leg it becomes fibrous tissues that end by wrapping around the knee cap.
Building a strong IT band is useful to reverse the effects of running on an uneven surface, a biological abnormality (like scoliosis) or running long distances. Stretching, a common form of treatment, and other exercises help break up scar tissue.
- Rice University pictures and description of “friction syndrome” http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/itband.v2.html
- Running Times non-traditional treatment http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=3528