Physical therapist assisting with Iliotibial band syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

IT band inflammation is common in athletes and workers who perform unbalanced, repetitive activities. But it can also impact individuals who spend a lot of time in sitting, standing or kneeling positions as well as those who are avid climbers or squatters.

Physical therapy for iliotibial band syndrome

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS or IT band syndrome) is an overuse injury of the tissue that runs outside of the leg, from the pelvis to the knee. It causes pain and tenderness, especially above the knee. Other common symptoms include a stinging sensation, thickening of tissue, or a snapping sensation on the outside of the knee. 

Physical therapy for IT band syndrome can help ease pain and correct biomechanical issues that may be exacerbating symptoms.

Causes of IT band syndrome

Inflammation caused by running, biking, and repetitive work movements are the most common causes of IT band pain and inflammation. For example, running along the side of a road, which is normally sloped, causes the outside of the foot to be lower than the inside, resulting in stress to the IT band due to a tilted pelvis. Biomechanical abnormalities such as excessive pronation of the foot, leg length discrepancy, muscle imbalances, decreased flexibility and anatomical malalignment can also contribute to this injury.

female physical therapist helping her male patient stretch his knees

IT band syndrome symptoms

Patients suffering from IT band syndrome may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain and tenderness, along the outside of the knee
  • Pain when bending the knee
  • Pain with daily and recreational activities – Stinging sensation
  • Snapping sensation on the outside of the knee
male physical therapist showing female patient how to use resistance bands

How we treat IT band syndrome

IT band syndrome accounts for 22% of overuse injuries in the knee region, but there are many ways to treat it. Your IT band syndrome treatment may include:

  • Ice and behavior modification to treat initial pain
  • Modalities for pain and tissue healing
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Biomechanical correction of training errors and abnormalities
  • Soft tissue mobilization
  • Manual therapy
  • Strengthening of hip and core musculature
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What to expect

Your first physical therapy appointment is about creating a personalized treatment plan based on your health history, diagnosis, and goals. Here’s what you can expect at your first physical therapy appointment:

Your first appointment will last about an hour. Please arrive 15 minutes early.

If applicable, bring your physician referral or prescription, insurance card, paperwork, ID, and co-payment.

At your appointment, we’ll do an initial evaluation and discuss your care plan.

*Services are not available at every location. Visit our Locations page for more details.