Iliotibial Band Syndrome

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

Iliotibial Band Syndrome, also called IT band syndrome, is a knee condition, most common in athletes, especially long distance runners.

Specific bones that make up your femur (thighbone), the patella (kneecap), and tibia (shinbone), surround your knee joint, and the iliotibial band is a rope of tissue that goes through the bones on the exterior side of the thigh. It stretches from the shinbone top to your hip. When you extend/bend your leg, the band will move over the outside of the thighbone. However, when you continue to bend and extend, the tissue that is close to the IT band can become irritated, leading to pain and ultimately a diagnosis of illiotibial band syndrome.

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If you are suffering from IT band syndrome, you will likely feel pain on the outside of your knee, although it can impact both knees at the same time, as well. Rather than a sharp, stabbing pain, you might feel a burning ache in the afflicted area, as well as in the surrounding hip and thigh.

As with most cases of knee pain and injuries, it is usually best to consult with an orthopedic doctor to determine your specific injury, and so as not to further injure or cause harm to the knee.

Causes and Risk Factors

Long distance runners are most at risk for developing IT band syndrome. Tissue inflammation in the area around the IT band forces an abnormal amount of compression at the area, which causes the pain.

IT band syndrome is most common in runners, but it can occur in soccer players, skiers, rowers, and cyclers, as well as those who do not participate in sports.

IT band syndrome can sometimes lead to patellofemoral pain syndrome, so it is important to consult with your doctor.

A Minimally-Invasive Approach to Knee Repair

A common misconception is that you need a big, open surgery to fix your knee. We use modern, minimally-invasive procedures to avoid this path whenever possible – and many of our patients are up and walking by the next day.

Treatment and Prevention

The best ways to prevent illiotibial band syndrome are to use proper shoes, stretch regularly, and avoid running in lower temperatures.

If you do develop IT band syndrome, however, the good news is that is is very treatable. Depending on how severe your injury is, your doctor might recommend several treatment types. Some of the most common suggestions are:

  • Using over-the-counter medication to treat the pain and inflammation.
  • Icing your knee to reduce swelling.
  • Temporarily abstaining from sports and activities that put a lot of strain on the knee.
  • Buying supportive gear that is in a good condition.
  • Participating in physical therapy and beginning a regimen of stretching before and after all exercise.
  • Pain management procedures or injections.
  • In cases where non-surgical options are not successful, surgical removal of part of the IT band.

Majority of patients who receive proper treatment tend to recover in a matter of weeks.


IT band syndrome can appear quickly and become a painful issue in the same moment. Fortunately, illiotibial band syndrome is treatable and our orthopedic doctors are here to help! Schedule your consultation today in either Jersey City or Hoboken. Let us help you get back to the activities you love!

Additional Resources

Iliotibial Band Syndrome- Cedars Sinai

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