Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome


Definition & Function

Definition: Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome (ITBS) is considered an overuse syndrome, often referred to as runners knee. The Iliotibial band is a long strong band of connective tissue that starts at the pelvis, runs over the hip and inserts just below the outside of the knee.

Function: The job of the Iliotibial band is to help stabilize the knee and hip during the motion of walking or running.

Mechanism of Injury

With repeated flexion and extension (bend and straighten) of the knee, the Iliotibial band can rub on the outside of the knee which causes friction, causing the band to become inflammed.

Signs & Symptoms

ITBFS creates a burning or aching pain, usually within 10 minutes of exercise, on the outside of the knee and can be tender if you apply pressure to the area.


  • A rapid increase in the training/running.
  • Running on uneven surfaces or excessive downhill running.
  • Excessive intoeing (pigeon toed).
  • Bow legs.
  • Overpronation (ankles rolling inward towards the ground)
  • Leg length discrepancy (one leg shorter than the other).
  • Overworn footwear - running/walking on uneven or angled surfaces

Pedorthic Treatments

Custom made Orthotics can be an effective method to help reduce friction on the Iliotibial Band. They are able to correct biomechanical impairments and redistribute the load to the foot in a different way in order to decrease the pull and friction on the Iliotibial Band. Proper footwear is also essential to your recovery. Talk to your Pedorthist about proper footwear choices for you.

Other Treatment

  • HEAT/ICE: heat 10-15 minutes on the hip area and ice on the outer knee to reduce swelling.
  • OTHER TREATMENT: may include pain medication, physiotherapy, massage therapy and cupping, kinesiotaping and foam roller therapy.

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