Iliotibial Band Syndrome

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome is a common overuse injury affecting the outer side of the knee. It occurs when the IT band, a thick band of connective tissue running from the hip to the outer part of the knee, becomes tight or inflamed. Repetitive friction of the IT band over the outer knee joint during activities like running or cycling can lead to pain, swelling, and inflammation. Symptoms often worsen with continued activity and may improve with rest, ice, and stretching. Proper warm-up, conditioning, and addressing biomechanical factors contribute to prevention and management of IT band


Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome is characterized by specific symptoms, primarily affecting the outer side of the knee. Common signs and symptoms of IT band syndrome include:

  1. Pain on the Outer Knee: The hallmark symptom is pain felt on the outer side of the knee. This pain is often described as sharp or stabbing and typically worsens with activity, especially when the knee is bent, such as during running or cycling.
  2. Swelling or Inflammation: There may be localized swelling or inflammation around the outer knee, contributing to discomfort and a feeling of tightness.
  3. Snapping Sensation: Some individuals may experience a snapping or popping sensation over the outer knee during movement.
  4. Pain Aggravated by Activity: Symptoms tend to worsen during activities that involve repetitive bending and straightening of the knee, such as running, cycling, or descending stairs.
  5. Pain Relieved by Rest: Rest and reduced activity often alleviate symptoms, providing temporary relief from pain and discomfort associated with IT band syndrome.
  6. Tenderness to Touch: The outer part of the knee may be tender to the touch, and there might be a palpable tightness along the course of the IT band.
  7. Stiffness: Stiffness in the knee or a feeling of reduced flexibility may be present.
  8. Pain During or After Exercise: Pain may begin during exercise, persist after activity, and sometimes interfere with daily activities that involve knee movement.

It’s essential to note that while IT band syndrome primarily manifests as knee pain, the underlying cause often involves issues with biomechanics, muscle imbalances, or overuse. Proper diagnosis by a healthcare professional is crucial for determining the specific factors contributing to IT band syndrome and developing an appropriate treatment plan. Treatment may include rest, ice, stretching, strengthening exercises, and addressing contributing factors such as improper footwear or training errors. Seeking timely medical advice can help manage symptoms effectively and prevent the recurrence of IT band syndrome.


The diagnosis of this disorder is typically based on the symptoms, such as pain at the outer bone, and exclusion of other conditions with similar symptoms.


Usually, iliotibial band syndrome disappears if the person reduces activity and performs stretching exercises followed by muscle-strengthening exercises. Dr. Luciano Di Loreto and our team create customized care plans. Dr. Luciano Di Loreto uses soft tissue techniques, electrotherapy, ultrasound, laser therapy as well as exercises to heal ITB injuries.