Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Friction SyndromeIliotibial Band Friction Syndrome is a very common knee injury where friction occurs between your Iliotibial Band and your knee or hip bone. It is one of the leading causes of lateral pain in runners and is sometimes misdiagnosed as runner’s knee.

Along with running, Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome is usually associated with cycling, hiking, squatting and court sports, such as tennis and handball. It is also known as Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS).


Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome is an overuse condition that is found more often in long-distance runners, bicyclists, and various athletes who squat regularly. It may be caused by a combination of various issues such as:

  • Poor Training
  • Muscle Tightness
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Flat Feet (heel or foot pronation)
  • Excessive Overuse
  • Anatomy Issues (leg-length discrepancy)
  • Bowed Legs


The most common symptom of Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome is lateral knee pain. However, there are other symptoms associated with it as well.


Diagnosis of Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome can be diagnosed by the symptoms above. A physical examination by your doctor is very helpful especially if there is a leg-length discrepancy or muscle imbalance.

An examination includes a check up of the lower back and legs along with the hips, knees and ankles. Blood tests, MRI’s and X-Rays are normally not required.

Our excellent pain diagnosis questionnaire can help you easily determine if you have Illiotibial Band Friction Syndrome.


The initial treatment for Iliotibial Band Syndrome is to reduce swelling. Rest and icing should be applied immediately. See RICE therapy guide to learn how to rest and ice properly. Over the counter pain medication will alleviate the pain as well.

Long term treatment may require modification of activity, knee straps, massage, stretching and strengthening of the affected limbs. In rare cases injection and surgery are considered. To find the best knee brace for your specific condition please see our detailed knee brace guide.


Preventing Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome might be challenging if you are active and prone to ITBS. However, there are certain measures you can take to reduce the chances of developing it.

  • Stretching
  • Releasing the ITB with a foam roller
  • Changing activities or sports
  • Avoid running on concrete
  • Check with your orthopedic doctor about the proper shoes

Here are more articles you may find helpful if you are a runner:

Have You Had Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome? Please Comment Below.

Article last updated on January 8th, 2019, first published on July 1, 2013.

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