Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome / Runners Knee

  • This knee pain occurs on the outside of the knee (at or around the lateral epicondyle of the femur).
  • Tightness in the iliotibial band.
  • Pain normally aggravated by running, particularly downhill.
  • Pain during flexion or extension of the knee, made worse by pressing in at the side of the knee over the sore part.
  • Weakness in hip abduction.
  • Tender trigger points in the gluteal area may also be present.

What Causes Iliotibial Band Syndrome / Runners Knee

Certain factors may make you more susceptible to developing runners knee or iliotibial band syndrome:

  • A naturally tight or wide IT band
  • Weak hip muscles such as gluteus medius
  • Trigger points within the IT band and gluteal muscles
  • Overpronation
  • Overuse
  • Excessive hill running
  • Running on a cambered surface
  • Leg length difference
  • Most of these factors can be addressed through changes to your training programme, the use of insoles or heel pads and a thorough rehabilitation programme.
  • Iliotibial band friction syndrome may require long-term rehabilitation and frequent Iliotibial band stretches should be maintained even after symptoms cease.
  • Rest.
  • Avoid painful stimuli, for example downhill running.
  • Apply cold therapy or ice to reduce any inflammation.
  • Iliotibial band stretches after training and throughout the day are important.
  • Self massage techniques can also be very helpful in correcting excessive ITB tightness.
  • See a sports injury specialist.
  • Perform soft tissue or deep friction massage.
  • Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as NSAID’s e.g. Ibuprofen.
  • Use Myofascial release techniques which have been shown to be highly effective.
  • Perform dry-needling techniques.
  • Outline a rehabilitation strategy which may include stretches and exercises to strengthen the hip abductors.
  • Use electrotherapeutic treatment techniques such as TENS or ultrasound to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • In acute or prolonged cases a corticosteroid injection into the site of irritation may provide pain relief.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome/ Runners Knee Treatment

What can the athlete do?

  • Rest.
  • Avoid painful stimuli, for example downhill running.
  • Apply cold therapy or ice to reduce any inflammation.
  • Iliotibial band stretches after training and throughout the day are important.
  • Self massage techniques can also be very helpful in correcting excessive ITB tightness.
  • See a sports injury specialist.

What can a Sports Injury Professional do?

  • Perform soft tissue or deep friction massage.
  • Prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as NSAID’s e.g. Ibuprofen.
  • Use Myofascial release techniques which have been shown to be highly effective.
  • Perform dry-needling techniques.
  • Outline a rehabilitation strategy which may include stretches and exercises to strengthen the hip abductors.
  • Use electrotherapeutic treatment techniques such asTENS or ultrasound to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • In acute or prolonged cases a corticosteroid injection into the site of irritation may provide pain relief.