The iliotibial tract: imaging, anatomy, injuries, and other pathology

Skeletal Radiol. 2017 May;46(5):605-622. doi: 10.1007/s00256-017-2604-y. Epub 2017 Feb 25.


The iliotibial tract, also known as Maissiat's band or the iliotibial band, and its associated muscles function to extend, abduct, and laterally rotate the hip, as well as aid in the stabilization of the knee. A select group of associated injuries and pathologies of the iliotibial tract are seen as sequela of repetitive stress and direct trauma. This article intends to educate the radiologist, orthopedist, and other clinicians about iliotibial tract anatomy and function and the clinical presentation, pathophysiology, and imaging findings of associated pathologies. Specifically, this article will review proximal iliotibial band syndrome, Morel-Lavallée lesions, external snapping hip syndrome, iliotibial band syndrome and bursitis, traumatic tears, iliotibial insertional tendinosis and peritendonitis, avulsion fractures at Gerdy's tubercle, and Segond fractures. The clinical management of these pathologies will also be discussed in brief.

Keywords: External snapping hip; Fascia lata; Gerdy’s tubercle; Iliotibial band syndrome; Iliotibial tract; Maissiat’s band.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fascia Lata / anatomy & histology
  • Fascia Lata / diagnostic imaging*
  • Fascia Lata / injuries
  • Fascia Lata / pathology*
  • Hip Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hip Injuries / pathology
  • Hip Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Hip Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Hip Joint / pathology
  • Humans
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome / pathology
  • Knee Injuries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Knee Injuries / pathology
  • Knee Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Knee Joint / pathology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Radiography / methods*
  • Thigh / anatomy & histology
  • Thigh / diagnostic imaging
  • Thigh / pathology