ITB syndrome


  • Runners
  • Stair climbers
  • Older adults
  • Impact sports requiring jumping and running such as basketball and netball


Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome is a common causes of pain at the outside fo the knee and can often occur together with PFPS or “Runner’s knee.” It is most often as a result of repetitive trauma or overuse, as opposed to an acute injury.

The ITB is thick band of connective tissues that runs down the outside of the thigh, from your TFL and gluteus muscles at the hip, down to your knee joint. At the knee it connects onto the outside of the joint at a bony protuberance, known as the femoral condyle. When the ITB constantly flicks over this bony protuberance it causes friction, resulting in the condition ITB friction syndrome.

WHEN  and HOW?

ITB syndrome occurs as a result of poor biomechanics during activities such as running. Poor mechanics can be due to a number of reasons including; muscular imbalances, pain at the hip/ knee or ankle joints, and/or muscular fatigue. Muscular imbalances or pain at the hip, foot and/or knee joints results in alterations to the lower limbs biomechanics as the body tries to compensate and adjust for these imbalances. As a result this then begins to manifest into excessive tightness of the ITB and lateral structures of the thigh, resulting in excessive friction at the ITB as it crosses over the bony part of the knee joint. With repetitive strain and friction, wear and tear occurs over time. This leads to irritation of the ITB and to the structures around the area, resulting in swelling and pain.


Treatment and management of ITB syndrome requires any underlying causes to be addressed whilst treating the pain and inflammation of the band itself. Your physiotherapist at our Move Forward Kinross Physiotherapy clinic will assess the whole lower limb, as well as the hip and low back in order to determine the exact cause of your knee pain. Following this assessment, you will be provided with a detailed outline of your own individualized treatment management plan. Your treatment may include a combination of the following;
• Rest
• Ice/ Heat
• Brace/ off-load taping
• Soft tissue massage
• Mobilizations
• Dry needling
• Stretching & strengthening exercises, which can be performed within the gym located at Move Forward Hillarys Physiotherapy
• Activity and exercise modifications to improve lower limb mechanics and posture, which can be performed within our pilates studio at Move Forward Quinns Physiotherapy or Jindalee Physiotherapy