What Is ITB Syndrome and How Can You Relieve The Symptoms?

ITB syndrome Jan25th 2021

What is ITB Syndrome?

Your ITB (or IT band, or Iliotibial band), is a thick band of fibers that runs on the outside of your leg from your hip to your knee. With overuse, this band can become tight and cause pain on the outside of the knee, the hip, or anywhere between.

Risk Factors

Long distance runners, bicyclists and other athletes who repeatedly squat are the most susceptible to ITB syndrome. However, others may be predisposed to ITB syndrome due to their anatomy (the shape or angle of the hips and knees).


Maintaining proper form as well as keeping the low back, hips and knees flexible are important in preventing ITB syndrome. Proper warm-up and dynamic stretching before exercise paired with cool-downs and static stretching at the end of an exercise session can help reduce the risk of ITB syndrome. If you are a long-distance runner, it is important to change your direction and route frequently to avoid overuse of one side in particular.

How Do I Know if I have ITB syndrome?

Pain on the lateral side of the knee is the most common symptom. Symptoms may start as mild complaints of stinging which can progress to pain when the heel lands. Eventually this can progress to pain with walking and climbing stairs. Some patients have complaints of hip pain or clicking on the outside of the hip/knee.

What do I do for my ITB syndrome?

ITB syndrome is inflammation of the fascia on the outside of your leg. To start, you will want to avoid activities that irritate the pain/symptoms, while decreasing inflammation. You can decrease inflammation by PRICE.

  • Protect – protect the hip/knee from future injury, avoid activities that increase pain
  • Rest – allow the hip/knee to heal by resting the leg
  • Ice – ice the painful area for 15-20 minutes 2-3x per day
  • Compress – while icing, trying to compress the area by making the ice pack tight. Ice machines work great if you have one available.
  • Elevate – elevate the ankle above your heart, especially when icing. Avoid positions where the foot is in a dependent position as this will cause increased swelling.

Best Exercises for ITB syndrome?

  • Piriformis stretch
    • Find an elevated surface, a bed works great
    • Position your leg like the picture below
    • Lean forward with a straight back until you feel a strong but tolerable pull or stretch
    • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times
  • ITB stretch
    • Take your affected leg and cross it behind your other leg
    • Lean into your hip until you feel a strong but tolerable stretch
    • Taking the arm on the same side over your head can increase the pull
    • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times
  • Foam rolling
    • Using a foam roller, you can roll out the area to help decrease the tissue tightness
    • In the position as shown in the picture, use your body to roll over the foam roller from your hip to just above your knee
    • Do this for 3-5 minutes

What else can I do to help?

If you would like more information on ITB syndrome or would like an individualized assessment for your needs reach out to ProTailored Physical Therapy or call us at (260) 739-0300.