Iliotibial Band Syndrome | Auckland Health and Performance

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Better, Stronger, Fitter

What is iliotibial band syndrome?

Used to describe knee pain that is…

  • Located to the side of the knee
  • Pain tends to be worse descending stairs
  • Not as painful ascending
  • Pain first started while going downhill
  • Doing a deep knee bend does not especially hurt
  • Pain is not particularly affected by sitting


Iliotibial band syndrome is characterized by lateral knee pain that is generally non traumatic and associated with overuse


The iliotibial band is a piece of connective tissue that runs down the outside/lateral part of your leg

It connects your hip and you knee


The band connects into the side of your knee and can rub and create friction and swelling causing pain.


The ITB is a unique connective tissue structure with some properties of a tendon, others of a ligament, and an unusual tension control system consisting of a couple of hip muscles at the upper end, and it probably does not slide significantly over the side of the knee.


What treatment will likely focus on…


Manual Therapy – Hands on analysis of hip knee and ankle function.

Range of motion – Ensure ankles and hips are moving well. They greatly impact knee pain

Stability – Single leg strength is essential for rehabilitation

Strength – Functional strength your hip and core muscles stabilize your leg when its off the ground in the gait/running cycle

Motor Control – Balance and coordination of muscle function “recruiting the correct muscles” will help with knee pain


Does stretching help ITB syndrome?


Stretching in general can help. A combination of dynamic and static stretching focused on hip and ankle is probably your best bet.




Does foam rolling help ITB syndrome?


It is likely to provide some temporary relief and should be part of an active recovery day. Foam rolling your thigh muscles for 30sec to 2 mins might help loosen things off. Follow this link to my YouTube videos on stretching and foam rolling


How long does it take to fix iliotibial band syndrome?


This depends on the nature and chronicity of the knee pain. Pain can last from weeks to months. This is going to be a case by case answer