Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome – A Runner’s Worst Nightmare | Total Performance Physical Therapy

Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome – A Runner’s Worst Nightmare

June 6, 2019

One of the most common causes of pain at the knee, hip, or both, especially in active individuals, is known as Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome, or ITB tendonitis for short.


The IT Band attaches to the outside of the shin, so repetitive movement of the shin with a tight IT Band, as seen in running, causes friction or “catching” over the lateral aspect of the knee causing pain.


Wait, what’s an IT Band again? The IT Band is a thick, strong band of tissue that runs down the side of the leg from the hip all the way down to the outside of the knee. The band helps assist with muscles at the hip and the leg when they are being worked, especially during running or mostly any physically demanding running activity. It also helps with stabilizing the outside part of the knee as well.

But I’ve been running my whole life, why am I just getting pain now? That’s one of the biggest questions you’ll hear, and the truth is there really isn’t one good answer to this question. IT Band friction syndrome could be brought on by many things, but the most common causes are:

Okay, so I think I may have this condition, now what? The
answer is simple but nails on a chalkboard for most people: STOP RUNNING. This
condition is an overuse injury, which means exactly what it says, it is being over used. So how do you fix it, stop using it. Okay, so you really can’t technically stop using it, but you can definitely take to high demand and stress off of it that running does. Ice is also another great modality to help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.  Seeking out physical therapy is the quickest way to rid yourself of this issue.  There are techniques that only a physical therapist can provide that will help alleviate the pain.  Myofascial release, or deep pressure to the tight areas of soft tissue trying to break up tightness, is also a great technique used with recovery.  This may also be accomplished by using a foam roller. The best way to recover, though, is to reduce activity and actively seek physical therapy treatment. It is also important think about your running environment and footwear and perform strength activities as need in
order to decrease demand and stress on the IT Band. Depending on adjustments
needed, one can expect to perform light activity in about a month or so and gradually return to your previous level
of conditioning with proper rest.

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