IT Band (Iliotibial Band)

IT Band Syndrome, commonly known as Runner’s Knee is pain and inflammation on the outside of the knee. Learn about physical therapy treatment options, pain relief, and alternative exercises.

2 minute read

Imagine a beautiful Sunday afternoon running along a gorgeous path when suddenly you have to stop due to excruciating pain on the side of your knee. IT band pain is a repetitive strain knee injury suffered mostly by runners but in some cases also by cyclists and hikers. Because this injury is so common to long distance runners it is commonly referred to as “runners knee.” One of the most effective treatments for the associated pain symptoms is physical therapy.

Facts on the Iliotibial (IT) Band

  • Your IT band is not a muscle but actually connective tissue that runs from the outside of your hip all the way down to past your knee
  • Your IT band helps stabilize and move your knee joint
  • When your IT band becomes thickened or inflamed it causes pain located on the outside of the knee
  • There is another form of “runner’s knee” not associated with ITBS which is patellofemoral pain syndrome (pain in the front of the knee)

Symptoms of IT Band

  • Pain on the outside of the knee near the bony protrusion in the spot where the IT band passes over the lateral femoral condyle (your knee)
  • Pain is isolated to the outside of your knee can cause swelling and tenderness due to friction of the IT band rubbing against your lateral femoral condyle (knee bone)
  • Inability to continue with your running or high impact exercise routine

Treatments for IT Band Syndrome

At Bourassa & Associates, our university trained physical therapists can run specific tests as well as examine your foot, knee, and hip alignment to determine if the cause of your knee pain is due to IT band syndrome. Depending on the severity and duration of your IT band pain you can generally expect to see improvements in your pain symptoms between 4-8 weeks of working with a physical therapist. After a thorough assessment, our physical therapists design a tailored treatment plan based on the individual client which can include but is not limited to:

  • Education on cause of IT band pain and exercise training modification (alternative options to cross train while you take a hiatus from running)
  • Stretching, proprioception, and improved neuromuscular coordination
  • Hip and pelvis strength and stability exercises
  • Assistance in choosing most supportive footwear and/or evaluating current footwear
  • Modality therapies such as laser, Ultrasound or electrical therapy. This can also include acupuncture/dry needling, pain relieving electrical, light, or ultrasound therapy
  • Kinesio Taping to prevent further injury

Book Your Treatment & Start TODAY!

Don’t let IT band pain stop you from running or engaging in activities you love. Physical therapy can reduce your pain symptoms and help you heal while engaging in alternative activities to keep you on track. You can get started right away, no doctor’s referral needed. Book an assessment online or contact a location nearest you to book your appointment via telephone.

Let us use our 30 years of experience to help you improve your symptoms of IT band pain today!

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