top of page

ITB syndrome

What is it? ITB Syndrome is an overuse injury that presents as pain on the outer aspect of the knee. We treat this most commonly in runners and cyclists. 

What are the symptoms? The main symptom we hear about is an ache or a sharp pain on the lateral side of the knee, usually felt when the heel strikes the ground. This pain tends to be more severe when running or when descending stairs. A flicking sensation may be felt when flexing the knee as the taut iliotibial band moves over a bony prominence. Some local swelling and tenderness on palpation may be present.

Aggravating factors? Activities that involve repetitive knee flexion/extension such as running, cycling, squats. Tension and trigger points in the gluteal muscles and tensor fascia latae can contribute.

Treatment? Our Massage and Myotherapists may perform an Ober's Test to confirm that the tension is in TFL/ITB.  Hands on treatment may include myofascial release, dry needling, massage, cupping and stretching. We may also treat the hip and lower leg to help release any secondary areas of tension or dysfunction.

Your Myotherapist may conduct physical assessments to determine if you have any muscular imbalances that are contributing to your condition and possibly hindering your recovery. They can then use this information to create a manageable exercise plan for you to do to help overcome this injury and prevent its return.

Corrective exercises?

Self-massage with ball: 

Standing next to a wall, find an area of tension on your affected leg and place the massage ball between that spot and the wall. Lean into the ball until your feel a nice pressure (not pain) in the tight spot and hold here until the pressure dissipates. You can also try some small movements to roll the ball up and down or side to side to help release more tension.

Self-massage with roller: Once you are comfortable with the massage ball, you may be able to progress to foam rolling your lateral thigh whilst on the floor. With your affected side facing the ground, position the roller under the side of your thigh and use your upper body to manoeuvre your leg up and down over the roller. You may like to remain stationary and focus on a particular spot in your leg as well.

ITB stretch: (not for everyone, please consult your therapist) Begin in a standard kneeling lunge with your affected leg at the back (knee under hip). With care, bring your back knee in line with your front foot. This may feel like enough of a stretch but if you want a little more, gently ease your hip out to the side to really lengthen out the ITB area.


Prevention: Prevention will vary from person to person, depending on the causative factors. This is not an injury that you can just push through so be sure to seek treatment as soon as you start to notice symptoms. Once you and your therapist have worked together to determine the cause, they can set a plan in place to help you keep this injury at bay. It pays to ensure that your hips, glutes and thighs have a stable foundation and are free from muscular imbalances, regular exercise including strength training will help with this.


bottom of page