Iliotibial Band Syndrome
(ITB Syndrome)

The iliotibial band (ITB) is a thick band of tissue along the outside of the thigh that assists in kicking the leg out to the side. In addition the ITB stabilizes the pelvis and acts as an additional support for the knee. It is a continuation of the tensor fascia lata muscle and is often painful in runners.

Causes & Symptoms

The ITB may become inflamed from over use and friction resulting in pain with activity. Causes of ITBS include leg length differences, running on an uneven surface, foot anatomy, or training errors such as increasing speed or distance too quickly.

Typical symptoms include feeling “tight” over the knee or hip, a hip snapping sensation, swelling, or a sharp burning pain.

Evaluation & Treatment

Initial evaluation includes a medical history and physical examination. X-rays are not often indicated. Examination includes provocative maneuver testing.

Typical treatment mainly consists of rest from activity, ice and anti-inflammatory medication. As symptoms reduce a complete stretching and strengthening program should be initiated. Frictional massage is also beneficial in later stages.