ITB (iliotibial Band) Syndrome

ITB syndrome frequently presents in runners

What is ITB syndrome?

ITB syndrome causes pain on the outer side of the knee where the ITB goes across the knee joint. ITB syndrome is a condition where the iliotibial band rubs on the femoral epicondyle which is a bony prominence on the outer aspect of the knee.

ITB syndrome causes inflammation and damage to the ITB and the tissue surrounding it.

ITB syndrome is not actually a knee injury but a problem of the iliotibial band ligament that runs along the outside of your thigh.

What causes ITB syndrome?

ITB syndrome is an overuse injury usually due to excessive running including high training intensities, volumes, frequencies or durations. It can also occur due to a sudden increase in training or if you get a new pair of training shoes.

Repetitive knee bending and straightening, particularly if weight bearing can also contribute to ITB syndrome for example walking, running, cycling, rowing.

You can help to prevent getting ITB syndrome by:

  • Decreasing your running mileage
  • Walking a quarter to a half of a mile before you start running
  • Make sure you have shoes that aren’t worn
  • Don’t run on hard or concrete surfaces
  • Change direction regularly if running on a track

What are the symptoms of ITB syndrome?

There are a few different symptoms of ITB syndrome including:

  • Pain on the outer aspect of the knee
  • Tenderness over the lateral epicondyle of the femur
  • Tightness
  • Stinging sensation above the knee joint
  • Hip weakness

How is ITB syndrome diagnosed?

Your physiotherapist can carry out a full subjective and objective assessment to determine whether or not you have ITB syndrome or something else is causing your problems. Special tests can be carried out to test the structures around your knee.

Other investigations are not normally required. X-rays may be useful when there is persistent lateral knee pain to rule out lateral compartment osteoarthritis.

What treatment can Farrell Physiotherapy offer for ITB syndrome?

Following assessment by your physiotherapist you will be given a tailored treatment programme based on the physiotherapist’s findings. Treatment will be based around your lifestyle and goals.

There are a variety of treatment methods available and your physiotherapist will choose the most appropriate methods based on your symptoms and response to different treatment modalities.

Treatment can include:

  • Activity modification
  • Ice
  • Analgesia advice
  • Electrotherapy including TENS, IFT, ultrasound
  • Corticosteroid injection
  • Soft tissue massage
  • Myofascial release
  • Corticosteroid advice
  • Stretching exercises
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Balancing exercises

Benefit of physiotherapy for ITB syndrome?

Physiotherapy is recommended for ITB syndrome and can significantly reduce your symptoms and help you return to sporting activity as quickly as possible. The particular benefits you receive from physiotherapy will depend on your original symptoms and your treatment goals.

Physiotherapy can:

  • Decrease pain
  • Improve strength
  • Improve range of movement
  • Improve sporting activity
  • Educate
  • Prevent re-injury

If you would like to book an assessment or enquire further, please call 01245 830280 or e-mail: