Do you experience pain on the outside of your knee? You may have iliotibial band syndrome or IT band syndrome. Iliotibial band syndrome is a common health problem that causes pain and inflammation on the side of your knee to the outer thigh on the upper leg. It's often seen in athletes, especially runners, but can occur in anyone who exercises regularly. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about IT band syndrome: what causes it, how to treat it, and prevention tips.


The iliotibial band is a strong, thick band of tissue that runs down the outside of your thigh. It can easily be felt as the band crosses the quad and hamstring. It's responsible for connecting your hip bones to your shinbone also known as the iliotibial tract. IT band syndrome is caused by repetitive friction or rubbing of the iliotibial band against the femur. This can occur when you run, bike, or walk long distances, or when you're new to exercise and your muscles aren't used to the activity yet. Here are common body issues causing IT Band Syndrome:

  • Excessive foot pronation: Your foot naturally rotates outward. That stretches the iliotibial band and brings it closer to your bones.
  • Hip abductor weakness: Abduction of the hip is when your hip turns away from your body. The hip muscles and bones cause sharp pain. A weakened ability to rotate your hip might cause your iliotibial band to move and tense.
  • Internal tibial torsion: Your tibia is also called your shinbone. Internal tibial torsion is when your tibia is twisted inward toward your body. This pulls your iliotibial band closer to your bones causing a tight Iliotibial band.
  • Medial compartment arthritis leading to genu varum: Arthritis in your knee joint can cause your knees to spread when you touch your ankles. This is called genu varum. When this happens, the iliotibial band gets tightened.
  • Preexisting iliotibial band tightness: It’s possible that you just happened to be born with a tighter iliotibial band.

IT Band Syndrome Self Causes:

- Cooling down too quickly after exercising.
- Lack of rest.
- Not stretching enough before exercising.
- Pushing yourself too hard during exercise.
- Running on a tilted or curved surface.
- Worn out shoes.
- Running downhill.
- Warming up too quickly before exercising. 


Common symptoms of IT band syndrome include lateral knee pain, pain on the outer side of your knee, inflammation, and stiffness. The pain usually worsens with activity and improves with rest. IT band syndrome can make it difficult to walk or even in a standing position.

People with iliotibial band syndrome feel pain throughout their leg muscles. The pain starts out as aching and burning. But with specific exercises, the pain persists and gets worse and sharper. Tell your physical therapists or sports medicine doctors, not just where the pain is located but what it feels like. Always reach out to a healthcare provider for a physical examination to help diagnose iliotibial band syndrome correctly.

A tight iliotibial band can cause several symptoms:

  • Hip pain: The iliotibial band moves repeatedly rubing against your greater trochanteric. This is the bone that widens near the top of your femur. The friction causes chronic inflammation and pain in your hip abductor muscles. You might hear a snapping sound.
  • Clicking sensations: You might feel a snap, pop or click on the outside of your knee while doing knee flexion movements strarting from a bent knee positions
  • Knee pain: Your lateral epicondyle is on the outside of your knee near the bottom of your femur, where the bone widens. Your tight iliotibial band rubs against your lateral epicondyle when you flex and extend your knee. This can cause inflammation and pain in your tendon. Lateral side knee pain is the most common symptom.
  • Warmth and redness: The outside of your knee might look discolored and feel warm to the touch.
  • Pressure Test: Run your thumb on the outside of the quad from the bottom of the hip to the top of the knee. If persistent pain exists, seek iliotibial band syndrome treatment.


There are several ways to treat IT band syndrome. The most common treatment strategies are rest, ice, compression and massage. Part of the rehabilitation program is physical therapy for biomechanical implications, stretching, and strengthening the muscles around your knee. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the iliotibial band.

1. Rest

Growth hormones need to be released in greater amounts when our body is healing from an injury. This happens during the 'deep sleep' phase of your sleep cycle, which usually happens every 90 minutes. If you want to heal properly, you need to get more hours of sleep so you can go through more 'deep sleep' phases. This will ensure that there is enough hormone production for injured soft tissue. Feelings of fatigue and tiredness during the day may be your body telling you to get more sleep.

2. Ice

Once an injury has occurred, icing usually takes place afterward. Applying a cold compress or ice pack to a strained muscle might aid in the reduction of inflammation and pain alleviation. Icing is useful at relieving discomfort and swelling because the chilly constricts blood vessels and decreases circulation to the region. The blood vessels dilate wider once they have been rewarmed, bringing in new blood flow. through more 'deep sleep' phases. This will ensure that there is enough hormone production for injured soft tissue. Feelings of fatigue and tiredness during the day may be your body telling you to get more sleep.

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3. Compression

Reducing swelling — Swelling is the body's response to injury, which it uses to attract more cells and protect the wound. However, excessive compression can hinder rather than help the healing process. Compressing the injury helps reduce swelling and aids in its prevention.

Reducing pain —Compression can also reduce pain and swelling by reducing pressure on your injured area. Compressing puts a lot of strain on the afflicted region, which aggravates the problem. Swelling causes greater suffering because it places an excessive amount of pressure on the injury. It also aids in decreasing discomfort because compressing may lessen swelling.

Improving blood and fluid circulation —Compression can assist with the removal of excess lymph fluids, which are necessary to flow properly in order to transport waste from cells and tissue. It also aids in the delivery of oxygen and nutrition-rich blood to the injury, enabling damaged cells and tissue to heal faster.

4. Massage

Massage can assist after injury by helping pain, tight muscles and the breakdown of scar tissue. Manual Therapy massage helps treat injuries by increasing capillarization in the blood, breaking down and realigning collagen fibers and increasing tissue elasticity.

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5. Physical Therapy

A physical therapist will help to stretch and improve the muscle strength around your knee. This will help to reduce the friction and rubbing that occurs between the iliotibial band and the femur.

It's important to continue with your physical therapy exercises even after you're feeling better, in order to prevent the symptoms from returning.


Prevention is key when it comes to Illiotibial Band Syndrome To help reduce your risk of developing this condition, make sure to warm up properly before you exercise, and stretch out your iliotibial band after you're done working out. IT Band Syndrome can be prevented by doing some simple strengthening exercises. Some of these exercises include strengthening the muscles around your knee and stretching your IT band. You can also ice the area after exercising to help reduce inflammation. If you're new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase your intensity over time.

Pre Workout Routine

Warm up- Using a warm compression sleeve will activate the knee. Use a warm compression sleeve 15-20min before stretching or beginning workout.


1. Side Lying Hip Abduction- This exercise targets your core, glutes, and hip abductors. This will help improve your stability. For more support, bend your bottom leg. If you want a challenge, use a resistance band around your ankles. Do 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 repetitions on each side.

2. Forward fold with crossed legs- The forward fold stretch can help relieve tension and tightness in your IT band. You'll feel the stretch along the muscles on the side of your thigh as you do it. To stretch more deeply, place all of your weight onto your back foot and hold for 1 minute.

3. Cow Face Pose- This yoga pose can help relieve deep tightness in your glutes, hips, and thighs. It also improves your flexibility and mobility. To make this pose easier, you can extend your bottom leg out straight.

Post Workout Routine

1. Cool Down- Using a cold compression will cool down muscles at the correct rate. Remember if muscles are cooled down too quickly, it can cause ITBS. Use cold compression 10 min after workout for 10-15min.

2. Deep Tissue Cold Massage- For a deep tissue massage, you will use your hands to press deep into the soft tissue and connective tissue. You will move slowly across the muscles and focus on any troubled areas. This type of massage is especially helpful in decreasing the pain and swelling that causes decreased movement in the body.

To perform deep tissue cold massage at home grab a firm massage ball that will give you that myofascial release by working deep into your muscles.

If you suffer from iliotibial band syndrome, you may be one of the 25% of adults who have knee discomfort. The tendon irritation and swelling that result when it rubs against your hip or knee bones can lead to a number of symptoms. Athletes are at an increased risk of developing ITBS. If you have iliotibial band syndrome, you might be forced to hop off your bike. The pain might prevent you from participating in sports. However, instead of quitting completely, most likely all you'll need is a brief absence from your favorite activities. ITBS is curable at home!


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