Iliotibial band tightness and medial patellar glide in patients with patellofemoral dysfunction

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993 Mar;17(3):144-8. doi: 10.2519/jospt.1993.17.3.144.


This paper investigates the relationship between iliotibial band tightness and medial glide of the patella in patients with patellofemoral dysfunction. Stretching the iliotibial band has been advocated in the literature to treat patellofemoral dysfunction, but there is little written about the mechanism of its influence on the patella. Anatomy and biomechanics are reviewed, with emphasis on the lateral retinaculum of the knee and the attachment of the iliotibial band to the patella. A study is presented in which 17 patients with patellofemoral dysfunction were evaluated. All patients presented with lateral tracking of the patella on knee flexion and extension. Medial glide of the patella was tested manually, and Ober's Test was performed to test flexibility of the iliotibial band. Twelve of 17 patients exhibited a tight iliotibial band with hypomobility of medial glide of the patella. Three patients demonstrated normal patella mobility with a normal result on Ober's Test. Two patients had hypomobile patellae with a normal Ober's Test. This study demonstrates a strong relationship between iliotibial band tightness and decreased medial glide of the patella.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Fascia Lata / anatomy & histology
  • Fascia Lata / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Knee Injuries / therapy
  • Knee Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology*
  • Ligaments, Articular / anatomy & histology
  • Ligaments, Articular / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tendons / anatomy & histology
  • Tendons / physiopathology