IT Band Syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome is one of the leading causes of lateral knee pain in runners. The iliotibial band is a thick band of fascia on the lateral aspect of the knee, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, as it moves from behind the femur to the front of the femur during activity. The continual rubbing of the band over the lateral femoral epicondyle, combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during running may cause the area to become inflamed.

Signs and symptoms

ITBS symptoms range from a stinging sensation just above the knee joint, to swelling or thickening of the tissue in the area where the band moves over the femur. The stinging sensation just above the knee joint is felt on the outside of the knee or along the entire length of the iliotibial band. Pain may not occur immediately during activity, but may intensify over time. Pain is most commonly felt when the foot strikes the ground, and pain might persist after activity. Pain may also be present above and below the knee, where the ITB attaches to the tibia. It will also hurt if you twist your knee to turn a corner.

Causes of IT Band Syndrome

ITBS can result from one or more of the following: training habits, anatomical abnormalities, or muscular imbalances:

Training habits

  • Spending long periods of time/regularly sitting in lotus posture in yoga. Esp beginners forcing the feet onto the top of the thighs
  • Consistently running on a horizontally banked surface (such as the shoulder of a road or an indoor track) on which the downhill leg is bent slightly inward, causing extreme stretching of the band against the femur
  • Inadequate warm-up or cool-down
  • Excessive up-hill and down-hill running
  • Positioning the feet "toed-in" to an excessive angle when cycling
  • Running up and down stairs
  • Hiking long distances
  • Rowing
  • Breaststroke
  • Treading water
  • Water polo

How orthopedic massage can help IT Band Syndrome:

Knowing that pain in the IT is a symptom of dis-function, we can utilize assessment techniques of walking and posture to create an effective treatment plan.  For more information on Orthopedic Massage, read my blog on "What is Orthopedic Massage" and the Orthopedic Massage section of Restorative Massage

Focusing on:

  • Hip alignment/stability
  • leg/foot strike and balance

By restoring muscle balance in and around the hips and legs we can effectively treat pain associated with the IT.

Richard C.

Oct 2016

Service received:

Integrative Manual Therapy/Orthopedic Massage

"I have been battling ITBS and Olivia is super knowledgeable about the human musculoskeletal stucture and various issues so she was able to help me significantly."