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  • Writer's pictureKeshia Petersen

How to Manage your ITB (Iliotibial Band) Pain... The Physio Guide.

Updated: May 24, 2019

It is a common knee injury that presents with pain when pressing on the outside of your knee.



The Iliotibial Band (ITB) is a thick band of connective tissue found on the outside of your upper thigh. It runs from your hip to your outer part of the knee.

The ITB has no bony attachments so it can move forwards and backwards as the knee bends and straightens.



ITB syndrome is an overuse injury that usually goes hand in hand with weakness found in your hip abductors.

What are your hip abductors you might be asking? They are muscles found on the side of your hip and they move the hip out to the side, your glutes (buttock muscles) form part of this.

Repetitive knee movement is seen as the cause for ITB syndrome and this we would commonly see in runners and cyclists to name a few. The repetitive movement causes friction.

Activities with repetitive knee movement can cause your ITB to become irritated and this can result in inflammation. Muscle weakness around the outer hip can also be the cause of your ITB to be problem as this causes an inward twisting at the hip and knee.



ITB Syndrome is a common injury in runners. It affects 5% – 14% of runners. Research has also shown it to be contributing 22% to lower leg injuries.

You will have a burning sensation on the outside of your knee. Your physiotherapist will ask certain questions to identify what you have been doing and if there has been any repetitive loading on the ITB. You will mainly describe your pain as being sharp and referring to the outer aspect of your thigh or calf.

When running down hill and long distances your pain might increase.



Physiotherapy is considered to be the best treatment for ITB syndrome. If you are an athlete it would be recommended to decrease your training load and actively rest, you may not ask how am I meant to actively rest?

This does not mean that you should stop all your activity, in order to maintain conditioning you can do activities where the ITB is not placed under high loads for example; swimming and cycling.

A short course of Anti-inflammatories is advised to assist with pain management. Icing the area will also assist with decreasing the inflammation.

Stretching your ITB and related muscles will help in lengthening the area and placing less friction or irritation on your ITB.

Soft tissue work is required to decrease the tightness in the band, this helps to reduce pain.

It is advised to foam roll your ITB, this should only be done if your physiotherapist has demonstrated it to you.

Strengthening exercises will be given to stabilize your hip and off load the pressure placed on your ITB.

For the best results it is advised to see your physiotherapist and get the treatment plan best suited for you.

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