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Iliotibial Band Syndrome

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS or IT band syndrome) is an overuse injury of the tissue that runs on the outside of the leg from the pelvis to the knee. It causes pain and tenderness especially just above the knee joint. Iliotibial band syndrome is commonly seen in runners and bicyclists. Work related activities and daily living activities – especially those involving prolonged sitting, standing, climbing or squatting – are also contributors to the syndrome. ITBS accounts for 22% of all overuse injuries in the knee region.

Common Causes of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome is typically caused by inflammation of the iliotibial band and is common in athletes or workers who perform unbalanced, repetitive activities. For example, running along the side of a road, which is normally sloped, causes the outside of the foot to be lower than the inside, resulting in stress to the IT band due to a tilted pelvis. Biomechanical abnormalities such as excessive pronation of the foot, leg length discrepancy, musculature imbalances, decreased flexibility and anatomical malalignment can also contribute to this injury.

Common Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

ITBS symptoms range from a stinging sensation on the outside of the knee to swelling or thickening of the tissue where the IT band moves over the femur. Pain can also be present above and below the knee, where the IT band attaches to the tibia. A snapping sensation may also be noted on the outside of the knee. You may have pain during activity or immediately after.

How We Treat Iliotibial Band Syndrome

  • Ice and behavior modification are used to treat initial ITBS pain
  • Modalities for pain and to promote tissue healing may include ultrasound and iontophoresis
  • Flexibility exercises of the lower extremity
  • Biomechanical correction of training errors and abnormalities
  • Soft tissue mobilization and manual therapy
  • Strengthening of the hip and core musculature



*Services are not available at all locations. Call or click the location page near you for that center’s services.

What to Expect

Every patient has a unique health history, diagnosis and personal goals.  When you come for your first appointment, we will create a personalized treatment plan for you.

We work with most major insurance providers and do our best to help keep the paperwork pain-free.  If you’d like to confirm your insurance coverage, please let us know and we can verify when you schedule.  If your insurance provider requires a co-pay, we will ask for this payment at each visit.  We accept payments by cash, check or credit card.

When to arrive for physical therapy

When to Arrive

On average, a patient’s first visit lasts about an hour. We typically ask patients to arrive 15 minutes early to sign-in, complete paperwork and/or change clothes.

What to Bring for Physical Therapy

What to Bring

On your first visit, you’ll need to bring your physician referral or prescription (if needed), your insurance card, your primary registration forms, your ID or driver’s license and your co-payment (as applicable). If desired, you may bring a change of clothing.

How Physical Therapy Works

How it Works

During your first visit, your physical therapist will do an initial evaluation and discuss your plan of care.  The therapist uses this information to set goals for your continued treatment.  Physical therapy goals may include improved movement, strength, endurance and flexibility, as well as decreased pain.  Your subsequent visits will focus on treatment that is based on your diagnosis and individualized goals.