The iliotibial band (ITB) is the lateral thickening of the fascia lata. The ITB has been extensively studied for its relevance to injury, but not much is known about its elastic properties. We aimed to investigate the site- and joint angle-dependence of ITB elasticity. We tested twelve healthy males (22–30 years; in vivo) and twelve male cadavers (69–93 years; cadaver). The Young's modulus of the ITB was measured in the longitudinal direction at five sites (over the proximal, middle, and distal bellies of the vastus lateralis (VL), superior border of the patella, and between femur and tibia) of the right limb, by ultrasound shear wave elastography (in vivo) and the tensile test (cadaver). Joint angle-dependence was also studied for nine different positions (knee angles at 0, 25, 90˚ x hip angles at 0, 40, 90˚) (in vivo). Over VL, the ITB was more compliant at the distal (17.6–190.1 kPa; in vivo, 219.4 ± 68.8 MPa; cadaver, mean ± SD) than other sites (24.2–221.4 kPa, 337.9–362.7 MPa). The ITB at the superior border of the patella and between femur and tibia was stiffer in vivo (31.8–271.8 and 50.9–208.8 kPa), while it was more compliant in cadavers (113.4 ± 63.7 and 130.4 ± 73.7 MPa), compared to other sites. The ITB became stiffer associated with increasing hip extension angle and knee flexion angle, and the hip remarkably affecting the values regardless of site (in vivo). Our findings have clinical significance with respect to the site- and joint angle-dependence of ITB-related overuse injury.
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