IT Band Syndrome

The Iliotibial band (ITB) is a fibrous band extending from the hip to the outside of the knee. It is involved in stabilizing the hip and knee, particularly in activities such as running.

The ITB may become tight for a number of reasons. This can cause pain down the side of the leg and cause friction where the band crosses the outside of the knee joint. This is termed ITB Friction Syndrome, also known as ‘Runner's Knee’. This pain is often worse when going down slopes or stairs and getting up from a seated position. It is a common complaint seen in physical therapy sports injury clinics.

There are many causes of “Runner's Knee”

  • Tight ITB
  • Poor foot biomechanics - over-pronation
  • Leg length difference
  • Tight muscles such as Hamstrings, Calves, Gluteals, Quadriceps and Hip Flexors
  • Weak hip stabilizing muscles and poor core stability
  • Overtraining
  • Incorrect footwear

Self-treatment that may be helpful initially:

  • Icing
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Massage to the outside of your thigh
  • Rest from aggravating activities
  • Replacing worn footware

If your knee pain persists it is worth having your Advantage physical therapist accurately diagnose and assess the area.

Treatment may include:

  • Massage to the ITB and other tight muscles
  • Mobilization of involved joints and tissues
  • Advise on strengthening and stretching program


There are also many preventative measures that your Advantage physical therapist may advise you on, including:

  • Shoe advice and/or orthotics
  • Strengthening work for the hip and knee and core muscles
  • Stretches for tight muscles
  • Advice on cross training and avoidance of overtraining

If you feel you have any of these symptoms, please call your Advantage physical therapist for further advice.