The iliotibial band is a large thick band of deep fascia (fascia lata) that runs down the lateral surface of the thigh. It acts to stabilize the hip and knee, and originates from the gluteus maximus and tensor fascia lata. The fascia lata is known subcutaneous stocking. In this article we will discuss the gross and functional anatomy of the iliotibial band. We will also discuss the clinical relevance of the structure, and provide a summary of key points at the end of the article. We will finally conclude with some review questions to test the reader’s understanding of the article content.
This is a band of thick connective tissue that runs along the lateral aspect of the thigh. The iliotibial band is simple a continuation of the tensor fascia lata, which arises from the outer lip of the iliac crest, the anterior superior iliac spine and the deep surface of the fascia lata. The muscle inserts between the two layers of the iliotibial band (one third of the way down the thigh).
The gluteus maximus muscle also inserts into the iliotibial band and is innervated by the inferior gluteal nerve (L5-S2). The superior part of the tract is splitted into two layers to enclose tensor fascia lata and tendon of the gluteus maximus muscle. The iliotibial band continues to descend on the lateral surface of the thigh, and inserts onto the lateral tibial plateau at a projection known as Gerdy’s tubercle. It lies on top of the vastus lateralis head of the quadriceps femoris in part. The tensor fascia lata acts through the iliotibial band, and supports the knee. It extend the knee (maintains the knee in hyperextended condition) and laterally rotate the leg. It also acts as a hip flexor and medial rotator.
The nerve supply to the tensor fascia lata is from the superior gluteal nerve (ventral rami of L4-S1), a branch of the sacral plexus. The nerve leaves the pelvis via the greater sciatic foramen, above the pear shaped piriformis muscle (a short external rotator of the hip). The superior gluteal nerve also innervates the gluteus medius and minimus (hip abductors and lateral rotators). As the tensor fascia lata crossed the hip and knee joint it is able to act in association with the iliotibial band to maintain pelvic position while a person is running jumping walking or standing.
- The iliotibial band is a band of fascia that extends from proximal to the hip joint, to the lateral tibial plateau.
- The gluteus maximus and tensor fascia lata muscles insert into the iliotibial band.
- The iliotibial band supports the knee, and works in conjunction with the gluteus maximus and tensor fascia latae to support the pelvis.
- The gluteus maximus muscle is innervated by the inferior gluteal nerve (L5-S2).
- The tensor fascia lata is innervated by the superior gluteal nerve (L4-S1).