What do I need to know about IT band syndrome?
Iliotibial band syndrome (1), also known as IT band syndrome, causes pain on the outside of the knee.
It’s a condition that can affect runners, cyclists and other athletes, as well as people who are more sedentary.
Read on to know more about this condition and the treatment options available.
What’s the IT band?
The first thing to know is what the iliotibial band is. It’s a length of thick, connective tissue that starts at the hip and extends to the knee.
It supports the leg when it’s moving, stabilizes the knee and anchors some of the major muscles, including the quads and glutes.
What causes IT band syndrome?
IT band syndrome can occur as a result of over-exercising, for example, running, cycling or other activities that involve this area of the body.
It may also be caused by faulty biomechanics, that is, when parts of your body are not correctly aligned.
Other causes include not warming up properly before working out, muscle tightness and sitting for too long.
Despite the syndrome’s name, the pain originates in irritated structures located underneath the band next to the knee — not the band itself.
IT band syndrome symptoms
IT band syndrome usually affects one leg. Its symptoms include:
- Pain on the outside of the knee, which may include a burning sensation
- Hip pain
- Thigh pain
- Pain during exercise
- Pain that continues after you have stopped exercising
- Swelling on the outside of the knee
How to treat IT band syndrome
If you are suffering from IT band syndrome, know that some simple treatments can help you:
- Rest or reduction in activity
- Ice applied to the outside of the knee for 15 minutes at a time, with your knee elevated
- Compressing the area above the knee with a special bandage
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication
- Steroid injections into the affected area
- Physiotherapy exercises to improve your strength, flexibility and mobiliy
IT band syndrome osteopathy
Osteopathy — a holistic way of approaching musculoskeletal disorders including massage, manipulation and other techniques — can also offer effective relief from IT band syndrome.
Your osteopath will assess your overall health and offer treatments to manage any specific issues.
For IT band syndrome, this may include shockwave therapy, a treatment that has been found to give excellent results in relieving pain (2).
Acoustic waves are delivered to the site of the pain, increasing the blood flow to the area and triggering the body’s healing processes.
Reach out to us for IT band syndrome relief
Approved by Indira Ravaeva. Manual Osteopath. Member of National Manual Osteopathic Society and Osteopathy Australia.
1. Very Well Health website, ‘Causes of Iliotibial (IT) Band Syndrome and Treatment Options’, Jan 7, 2022.
2. Maghroori R, Karshenas L, Khosrawi S. ‘Shockwave Therapy Versus Dry Needling for the Management of Iliotibial Band Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial: SWT Vs. DN for the Treatment of ITBS,’ Galen Medical Journal, 2021 Jul 6;10:1-8. DOI: 10.31661/gmj.v10i0.2174. eCollection 2021.
Also used in research but not referenced in the article:
Sprint Rehab article, ‘5 Home Exercises For IT Band Syndrome,’ May 28, 2019.