Physical Therapy for Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Physical THerapy Toronto Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Physical Therapy for Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Physical Therapy for Iliotibial Band Syndrome

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?Physical THerapy Toronto Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The iliotibial (IT) band is a thick band of fascia that extends from the outer hip to the lateral knee. The IT band is important in stabilizing and moving the knee joint, especially when running. If the IT band is not working properly, the continuous rubbing over the lateral aspect of the knee causes irritation and inflammation of the area. IT band syndrome is one of the most common overuse injuries in runners, especially long distance runners. Irritation of the IT band is also common in bikers, hikers and weight lifters.

Causes of Iliotibial Band Syndrome:

IT band syndrome is an overuse injury; therefore repetitive movements that make the leg turn inward put individuals at risk for developing this injury. Other common causes that bring on IT band syndrome are wearing ill-fitting or worn out shoes, poor training habits or over training. If an individual has a leg length discrepancy, the pelvis must tilt in order to accommodate the difference and this can cause the IT band to become tight and develop IT band syndrome. Running down hill can also contribute to developing IT band friction because when running down hill the IT band must work hard to stabilize the knee, which places a lot of stress on this structure. Women are at an increased risk of developing this syndrome because of their hips cause their knees to naturally turn inward more than men.

Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome:

  • Pain and/or swelling on the lateral part of the knee
  • Pain worsens with activity and remains after activity is finished
  • Pain is most commonly felt when the foot strikes the ground

Treatment of Iliotibial Band Syndrome:

Once you notice symptoms of IT band syndrome it is important to rest immediately to keep the injury from progressing. Ignoring the symptoms can result in further inflammation and scaring with increased pain and can lead to chronic IT band syndrome. When individuals keep doing their activity there is a risk that the bursa (also known as the fluid filled sac that decreases friction of the IT band) may develop inflammation and scaring as well. Ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication is often accompanied with rest in order to decrease inflammation and pain. If these conservative treatments do not seem to be working, it is important to seek professional help from a physical therapist.

Physical therapists will prescribe stretching and strengthening exercises to ensure the mechanics of the lower limbs are correct to decrease the tightness of the IT band.  Sometimes orthotics may be given to correct any gait issues the Physiotherapist comes across.  Shockwave Therapy can be helpful in breaking down scar tissue and decrease tension and pain along the IT band.  Other effective Physiotherapy treatments may include acupuncture as the Gall Bladder meridian runs through key points of the IT Band.

For more information on iliotibial band syndrome or to book an appointment please contact Ace Physio at 416 900 6653 or visit our website at

About the Author

Brad SaltzBrad is a Registered Physiotherapist at Ace Physio, a highly respected Physiotherapy clinic in downtown Toronto. Ace Physio provides high quality one on one Physiotherapy that combined state-of-art technology such as; Shockwave Therapy, Laser Therapy, and Spinal Decompression with traditional Physiotherapy.View all posts by Brad Saltz