IT Band Syndrome

What is the IT Band?

The Iliotibial band (IT band) is a tendon that courses down the lateral side of the leg from the hip to the top of the shin. It stablizes the knee joint and assists in the last 5-10 degrees of knee extension. The IT band also aids with knee flexion beyond 30 degrees.


What is IT Band Syndrome?

IT Band Syndrome, also called IT Band Friction Syndrome, refers to pain located around the lateral knee after repetitive movements. It is the most common lateral knee injury in athletes and is frequently seen in runners, cyclists, and military recruits. Studies suggest IT band friction syndrome may occur in up to 15% of such athletes. Researchers believe that abnormal biomechanics, or gait patterns, may predispose certain athletes to IT Band Syndrome.


How is IT Band Syndrome Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is generally made by an experienced clinicial after a careful history associated with pertinent exam findings. While not generally necessary, imaging via Ultrasound or MRI may aid in the diagnosis.


What are the treatment options for IT Band Syndrome?

Many athletes will find it difficult to maintain full participation in their sport of choice when suffering with IT Band Syndrome. Initial treatment may include rest, ice and/or heat, and use of anti-inflammatories. After this initial phase, the best course of treatment will generally include physical therapy with goals of strengthening the hip abductors and stretching the IT band. In those whose biomechanics are the suggested cause, gait retraining and if you're a cyclist, a bike fit, as a means of secondary prevention is an option. If symptoms and discomofort persist, injections with platelet-rich-plasma (PRP) can be considered. Once the athlete is pain free and has full range of motion, they can return to their sport of choice.


If you are experience symptoms consistent with IT Band Syndrome, and would like to be seen for evaluation and treatment, we reccomend calling the office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Carfagno who is board certified in Sports Medicine.


Bryce Kirkman, MS-IV

David Carfagno, D.O., C.A.Q.S.M.



Shamus J, Shamus E. The Management of Iliotibial Band Syndrome with a Multifaceted Approach: A Double Case Report. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy. 2015;10(3):378-90.

van der Worp MP, van der Horts N, de Wijer A, et al. Iliotibial Band Syndrome in Runners. Sports Medicine. 2012;42(11):969-92.

Lavine R. Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome. Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine. 2010;3(1-4):18-22.

Jackson J. Iliotibial Band Syndrome. UpToDate. Updated: 03/02/2015.


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