IT Band Syndrome: The Top 5 Causes and Solutions

by Dave Heidloff | 91 Comments

Running season has arrived and a lot of you wanted to hit the ground running, but instead, you hit the ground hurting…hurting on the outside of your knee. If that’s the case, you could have iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) or IT band syndrome for short. IT band syndrome is an overuse injury that is common in endurance athletes like runners and bikers. It affects a tissue that runs from the side of your hip all of the way down past your knee. Most of the time, the inflammation manifests itself as pain on the outside of the knee. It can be incredibly painful and is typically a frustratingly stubborn injury to deal with. One quick look at the anatomy below can help you realize that the cause of the pain can be anywhere from the hip to the knee, so getting to the root cause can be a little tricky, but here are some solutions to a few of the most common causes of IT band syndrome.

Iliotibial Band

1.  Overuse
Technically, IT band syndrome is an overuse injury. It’s kind of a misleading classification since there are usually other factors than overuse, but approaching IT band syndrome as an overuse injury is an important first step towards recovery. After icing and resting for a few days, you may need to change up your training regimen. Sometimes this can be as easy as avoiding repetition. Try changing your running route or getting away from the treadmill or track for a jog outside. If getting in shape or building up your endurance is your goal, try some cross-training while you slowly ramp up your mileage. Keep in mind that while overuse is usually one of the causes of IT band syndrome, there are usually other factors contributing to your pain, so some of the other interventions below may be necessary.

2.  Tight Tissues
Tight muscles in your hips or along the side of the leg can be a major contributing factor to IT band syndrome. All of these tissues are connected, so even though the location of the pain is in the knee, the hips can very well be the area that need the most attention.

Stretching the IT band and the connected muscle is fairly simple. Just cross your legs, keeping the affected leg in back (position 1). Lean away from the painful leg until you feel a stretch along the side of the leg (position 2). Hold that for 30 seconds and repeat 5 times.
IT Band StretchIn addition to stretching I’ve had success by utilizing foam rolling or work with a tennis ball to loosen up tight tissues and release any tightness in your hip muscles. I strongly encourage you to stretch and roll both of your legs as tight tissues on one leg can cause pain on the opposite side. If there still seems to be some lingering tight spots after you try the at-home solutions, you may need to see a professional for some individualized hands-on work.

3.  Weak Hip Muscles
Researchers at Stanford found that weak hip muscles can be one of the biggest reasons people get IT band syndrome. Weak muscles in the hip tend to cause your running form to break down, which puts a lot of stress on the tissues in the knee. To strengthen the muscles most commonly affected, you can try some of the exercises suggested at this link. In addition, another one of my favorites (pictured below) is referred to as “the clam.” While on your side, bend your knees to 90 degrees. Keeping your ankles together, rotate the knee of your tip leg towards the ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat 30 times. Again, it’s important to strengthen both legs as one side of the body can easily affect the other.

Clam Exercise for IT Band Syndrome

4.  Poor Running Form
Sometimes getting rid of IT band syndrome can be as simple as changing the way that you run. Having a professional look at your running gait can reveal some problems that you may have never noticed. Some of the more common problems are overstriding (taking too long of steps) and strides that cross over the midline of the body. These are pretty easy to notice and can sometimes be pointed about by an experienced runner. Sometimes, however, the breakdown in form can be more subtle and require something more involved like a video gait analysis.

Video Gait Analysis

5.  Shoe or Orthotic Issues
You can correct every issue in your body, but if what comes between your foot and the ground is the cause of your problem, you’ll never see relief. Overworn shoes can cause your foot to land at awkward angles, which transfers a lot of stress up to the knee and hip, so keeping your shoes within their recommended mileage is critical. Also, adjusting to minimalist shoes (or none at all) will require you to adjust your running style, so be sure to do your research and be patient while adjusting. Finally, arch or ankle problems may require you to get orthotics so you can run with a safer gait.

With all of these suggestions, you can expect for improvement to take some time. If your pain lingers for longer than a few weeks, it may be time to talk to a healthcare provider for some more individualized treatment.

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91 Comments

  1. Dean Marquez

    Great article, I’ve always thought I just had hip issues but I learned through re-hab that it was a IT band issue. I recovered last year and completed about 8 triathlons,I was off the last 4 months due to a divorce and just started to train again. My IT band is hurting again. Thanks for your article it will be a great reminder of what I did in re-hab and it will help me get back where I was before.

    I think it may also be caused by an uneven pelvis?

  2. Megan @ Fiterature

    Thanks for sharing all of these details. I’m training for Chicago and have had some slight outer knee issues – immediately grabbed my foam roller and made a date!! The pain went away the next day and has stayed away if I continue to roll!

  3. Chris

    @Dean: good news on the divorce. Now with the healthy hip you can do 10 triathlons next year.

  4. Christy Schafer

    I am an avid tennis players and have been experiencing pain in the hip that often radiates down to the knee area. I did have a lower back strain a couple of years ago and have rehabed that area. Are IT band problems common in tennis players? Thanks

  5. daveheidloff

    @Christy – I’ve seen IT band problems pop up in athletes of almost every sport- tennis players included. If your pain is truly radiating, it would be worth seeing a physician or getting a screen to rule your back out as the source of your pain. Whether it’s your back or not, you would probably benefit from beginning to do the “clam” exercises listed above. If your back is ruled out as the cause, it would definitely be worth getting started on the stretches as well. I hope that helps. Thanks for reading!

  6. Amy Storer

    Has anyone tried the Graston technique? Running has become the love of my life and I am desperate to get back in the groove. So far a few things seem to be working for me. One has been getting the custom orthodics done – expensive as hell – but totally worth it! Like one person mentioned it is a godsend and I could feel the pain dissipate when I put them in my shoes at the store. Acupunture and the cupping technique have mysteriously and incredibly helped my ITBS condition! I highly recommend going to a reliable place that has good reviews.

    I have done the GRaston technqiue two times so far but I am worried that I have been sore and feel the ITB symptoms after but I am told this is normal for a few days… time will tell! Has anyone else had this experience after graston? What did it feel like?

  7. Alberto Douss

    I have this pain on the tight at the upper parts and sometime on the middle!
    I has been in therapy for about 2 month twice per week but I don’t see a result . I can feel better today but next day I can feel the pain. I don’t have a pain on the side of my knee.. They are doing the ultrasound and massage(not deep one). It been about 4 month with me having this..
    Any advise?

  8. Fannie

    I am in constant pain and this is making me miserable. That said, having broken a tailbone in childbirth, it is a pain that I CAN tolerate on a daily basis; I just dont want to. I am a cross trainer. I do lots of strength training. I do not run but my workouts involve a lot of high kicking, deep squats and jumping. My hips feel enflamed. I’ve used Aspercreme and warm baths. I am very limber and stretch daily…. still capable of doing splits and V sits. I actually feel best working out but yesterday the pain radiated all through the afternoon, night and right into this morning. Im guessing this is IT related but everything Ive read indicates that kind of pain is more associated with knees. Guidance?

  9. Julie

    I have had this ITB Pain for about a month . Now I’ve got pain on the inside of my knee and along the front of my knee. Had Physical therapy yesterday and a light massage on lower back last night . Today it’s still painful , it’s on the outside mid thigh to around the inside of my knee. Please Advise. Thanks a lot !

  10. Julie

    I have problems with my knee and now have ITB pain. It starts about mid thigh and the Inside of my knee is painful also . Need advise on what to do about this ongoing pain , I did have a treatment yesterday morning with one of those battery / cortisone pulse patches . Felt somewhat better but don’t know what else to do . Need advise on what to do next .

  11. Annabelle

    I just have one question, it is track season and I started off with shin splints which heals quite quickly. I now have the I T band syndrome but it’s not hurting on my knee it’s on the whole side of my leg. I’m not even sure if it IS I T band syndrome.
    It has been hurting for two weeks now, my first meet was on Thursday and I could not stand it. My coach will only let me do the 1500 m race because of it. I decided after the meet to not run until Monday at my practice which was yesterday. I ended up not going to practice because my parents weren’t home to take me so I ran by myself for an easy run. Within 5 minutes that I started the pain came, I rested but it only seems to be getting worse as it gets.
    I’m starting to think it’s not I T band syndrome but I’m really confused ’cause all of the pain I’m having is described whenever I read about I T band syndrome. I have another meet today and I am not sure if I should even go if it’s getting like this.

  12. Elizabeth

    I have been in pain since Nov. 2012. I am just finishing with my PT and am scheduled for an MRI of my back next week. I am quite confident it is my IT band. Pain is from my hip to my knee. Sleeping is very difficult. Stairs.. getting in and out of a seated position also difiicult. I have just started golf for the season and am in a great deal of pain from the even services and pushing a cart.
    Is there something other than all these stretches that I have been doing for months to help me rid of this pain?

  13. Donna

    Elizabeth does it feel like everything ripples from hip to knee when you lie on your side. This pain is killing me. I have had it since October and need it to be gone. When Isrand up from sittingit moves to the top of my thigh.

  14. Donna

    I have the same feeling. When you sleep does it feel like it shifts down your side? This pain is awful.

  15. Joni

    I have the ITBAND Syndrome , But side of my kneee pops , snaps everytime I get up from sitting , What’s the cause of that ?

  16. Chris

    I have never been a runner and started running just about everyday on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes at a relatively slow 5.0 pace. My pain started in my hips and now has moved to my right knee and no pain in my hips. I feel a popping in my knee when I go from sitting to standing and pain and a little swelling on the outer portion of my knee. I occasionally will have pain on the inside as well. I thought I tore something, but could this be IT syndrome?

  17. Matthew

    I am an under 20 athlete and have competed for Great Britain over the last few years. I had ITB syndrome that appeared December last year, I have recently had it treated and recovered. I had a QuarterZone injection which had sorte the problem out and have seen various physio’ that have said this will work. The problem is that yesterday I went on a 9 mile run and about an hour after I felt the pain that I originally had coming back again, I then later that day noticed I had a bruise around the area I had the injection , (not due to the injection as it was about 4 weeks ago) I need to get back into my training as quick as possible as I am trying to qualify for the world youth championships and need to know some relatively quick solutions! Have booked a physio appointment for the weekend but need some help as I haven’t got much time to get some decent training in!

    Any advice is appreciated!
    Matthew axe

  18. Lynn Stanley

    I am 8 weeks post knee surgery, inner and middle compartments, and am experiencing pain from inner knee up and across to outer hip area. I’ve been told by orthopedist and massage therapist that this pain is along IT band. Does this sound correct? It is not from outer knee. Why would knee surgery affect this? Is this normal?

  19. Dave Heidloff

    @Elizabeth – Sometimes there are other imbalances contributing to your knee pain, which are best assessed by a health care professional. These stretches and exercises cover the most common issues we see. If you’ve been trying these for a while and you aren’t seeing improvement, it may be time to seek further attention. If you’re near one of our clinic, you can set up a complimentary screen. Details are here: http://www.athletico.com/services/complimentary-injury-screens/

  20. Dave Heidloff

    @Joni – Unfortunately, It’s tough to tell where a sensation like popping is coming from without a physical exam and even then its cause may or may not be obvious. My first guess would be tight muscles in your hips and front & back of your thighs. Is there any pain associated with these pops?

  21. Dave Heidloff

    @Chris – It very well could be IT band syndrome. I’d recommend working on your hip and leg mobility. Unfortunately, there isn’t an overnight cure and it may take a couple of weeks to begin to notice a difference. In the meantime, I’d recommend sticking to pain-free activities and following up with your doctor if the swelling and pain is persistent.

  22. Dave Heidloff

    @Lynn – What kind of surgery did you have? It sounds like you might benefit from seeing somebody in person as there may be some compensations from your surgery that may be contributing to your knee pain that would be tough to pick up on over the internet. It’s an unfortunate limitation of the medium. If you’re close to one of our clinics, we can get a complimentary screen set up to give you some better input. Here’s a link if you’re interested: http://www.athletico.com/services/complimentary-injury-screens/

  23. ade

    Please help I’ve had this pain and tightness on the outside of my left tie for 1 year and 2 months now and I’m still unable to get rid of it. It’s frustrating because 1) I’m currently seeing a 3rd physio, the first 2 I saw couldn’t solve the problem 2) it’s very tight that sometimes I have to walk very slow never mind running or doing any sport.

    The problem started 48 hours after a gym session doing leg presses, leg extension and cross training. I was walking to the gym and suddenly felt a sharp pain on my knee, then I couldn’t work properly and started limping. I saw the doctor did x ray of knees and hips all was normal. What first physio did to told me to do was form rolling, calf stretching and gave me orthotics, all that did for me was stop me from limping but didn’t return me to walking normally, I left first physio becuase I moved away from that area. I saw second physio and at this point because I have not been walking normally for about 4 months I started having lower back pain, this physio was pretty clueless, he gave me the “clam” exercise and the abductor exercise and no improvement infact the exercises made my back pain worse. He gave up after like 6 weeks. Then doctor sent me to orthopedics he did mri scan saw nothing but little fluid around the knee. He said he’s never done a surgery on IT band and told me physio was the solution.
    He recommended a new physio to me, this new physio took a different approach the first exercise he gave me was leg extension using a particular techinque and told me to always walk with cross training shoes and told me the orthotics was useless if I was just wearing it in a flat shoe moreover he said from experience orthotics isn’t the solution.I started seeing improvement with the leg extension and trainers. The following week he added more exercises step ups,rowing,double leg ball squat,ball lunges. This just made everything worse I was tighter and felt more pain, he realised his mistake and then told me to stop the rowing. I carried on with the other exercises but was still feeling tightness from the exercise. He then thought sport massage will be the best way to get rid of those tightness, I’ve been doing the sport massage for 6 weeks now, I’ve felt some improvement but the progress is VERY slow. Surely this IT band issue shouldn’t be that hard to solve? at least I should be walking normally by now with no pain after 14 months?

  24. jane

    Thanks for the comments and the informstion.
    Iam not a runner and i suffer from IT syndrome, ever since i got my first born 8 years ago.
    What can be i permanent solution , because right know i cannot run up and down.

  25. FALCON

    @ade,hi theare for what you wrote about your problem i have experienced something simular ,to answer directly to your question yes it si posible to suffer form IT BAND FOR SO LONG in my case for more than 20 months,but i was doing in that time hill running espcially downhill,another thing as you said you felt sharp pain in your knee and stated limb from that moment,maybe the reason was you tieghtness ,when IT BAND short it tieght too ,and have impact on knee ,in my case because i wasnt aware of it istarted to pull away my patella.You sholdnt worry at all if your knee and especieally hip x ray or mri were normal,the only suspect is IT BAND,and about exercise you should avoid at all case all exercise that make you more stress on your hip and knee,you need to loose that no to tight more,you would be able again to walk with no problem ,i am doing hill running for one year after injury ,and i feel sometimes tight again if i push too much and started to do exercise again hahah,yea its little frustreted or more then little i know exactly you feel about but you must be patient maybe next mounth or weeks feel imorvment, and i dont know why is happening the medical name is IT BAND SYNDROME OR HIP SNAPPING SYNDROME,but my friend you will be able not to walk just but to run or feel like flying jajaja,sorry for my not perfect english i think you understand my point

  26. Shawna

    Hey, I’m 28 years old fitness model and work at a gym. This is my third “flare-up” as I call it with ITB Syndrome. Each time I am out of commission for 4 months or more. My pain starts on the lateral side of my knee and around the patella tendon. Then I start to notice it lower on my IT band and all the way down to my outer ankle where my calf muscle tightens up and to my big toe where it keeps popping!! I have seen an orthopedist, a chiropractor, and a podiatrist. They have all given me similar answers that correlate to each other. They have helped me conclude that my IT band is way to tight and swollen. It pulls on the knee causing the patella pain and pulls on the peroneus brevis (tendon of the calf) which is all “tacked-Down” to the bone.

    My recovery has been with constant foam rolling and stretching, along with strengthing my hip muscle and completing foot arch exercises. I also have to wear a level 2 knee support brace to help relieve pressure on the IT band and patella tendon until I am fully recovered. For exercise, I have been doing my training on the elliptical when I am not too sore, and a lot of yoga and pilates. It is very important to keep your muscles strong and mobile while you are treating and recovering from issues relating to the IT band.

  27. Paul

    Hi. Just been diagnosed with it strain.and I am Not a runner. Mine is caused by overworking of my leg muscles as a hospital porter (58 and non stop work,as per management orders). And as I don’t exercise, it seems as if the stretching advice on this site is something I need to do, so as to help with any repartition of my injury,as I will not get less duties when I return to work. Any further advice posted,, on how to avoid further injury would be helpful,or to help me over this injury too.. Paul

  28. Rebecca

    My troubles started with a fractured toe that wouldn’t heal. I was in a boot for 3 1/2 months to stabilize it. The toe finally healed but my opposite hip which began to hurt because of my uneven gait is still painful even though I am walking fairly normally now. Do you think the IT band could be my problem?

  29. Elaine

    I had total knee replacement on my left knee in March. Recovery was going great until 2 weeks ago when the outside of left knee started swelling and hurting. Saw my orthopedist this week and he told me I ihad IT band problem and went to my pt appointment and was massaged and given exercises to do.
    Help me since I didn’t expect problems after TKR.
    Thank you.

  30. Dave Heidloff

    @Elaine- Flexibility and gaining range of motion is paramount after a knee replacement. I’d suggest working with your physical therapist and focusing on some IT band work during your sessions. Give your PT some candid feedback on your progress so they can adjust your program.

  31. REVA

    I have just been diagnosed with IT band. Need to know if its possible to get IT band if I dont run. I hardly exercise. What are the chances. I have no idea how i got this – just woke up one morning and now I am always in pain.

  32. Tiff

    I do excersize but not train for marathons. I have had many driving jobs.. Too many. I have problems with mt itb as well.. Its been years. No driving irritates me to death. Cortisone injections. Message. Chiro. Sports therapists. Yoga.. No help.. Not even muscle relaxers help.. HELP

  33. Mando

    Hi, I am a runner and two weeks ago I was diagnosed by my trainer with ITBS. I took two weeks off and stretched,iced and rolled out like 2 times a day. It felt much better and I could walk again so it wasn’t bothering me at all until I started running and quarter mile into it my Knee started to flare up so I stoppped and now it feels the same as the beginning. Any suggestions on what I should do?

  34. Dave Heidloff

    @Maro – It sounds like it could be your running mechanics as you’ve overcome the pain at least once. Perhaps you should have someone take a look at your running form and give you some suggestions on how to prevent this from recurring.

  35. Bernadette

    Lately after my runs my left knee is hurting especially when it cold but the pain goes away no less than an hr. my last two runs I felt pain in my lower hip but I took a warm bath and used a roller and felt better. I notice after a long run I get real stiff. Should I stretch more? Do you think I have itbs?

  36. Dave Heidloff

    @Bernadette – Stretching more is rarely a bad thing, so as long as it doesn’t bother you, I think that’s a good idea. In addition to stretching, foam rolling or getting a massage can do a lot to loosen up stiff tissues that may be contributing to your hip and knee pain. Perhaps adding those into the mix could speed up your recovery.

  37. Pat heath

    I have got dreadfully pain down left side come on after holiday trying to walk in very deep sand so much Worse when trying to get upstairs or just lifting left leg even sitting don’t no whot to do taken ibrufen its not touched it seems to come from left bottom cheek ates can’t put leg towards inside but can move it left no problem can you help please

  38. Kim Levitsky

    I am training for my 3rd marathon and have followed a more aggressive program this time around. I got through an 18 miler without any issues. My next wk was 15 and 10 into it, I got the IT pain for the first time outside of my knee. I walked/ran until I got home. I rested it, iced it, stretched it, foam rolled it, and went for ART. I tried running today (exactly one week after) and it flared again 5 miles into it. I called my husband to pick me up at mile 8. Any chance of recovering enough for my marathon in 3 wks? Any recommendations? I am prepared to drop down to the 1/2 but would love to do the full.

  39. Dave Heidloff

    @Kim – Unfortunately, IT band syndrome can be pretty unpredictable. I’ve seen some people have a small flare-up of pain that subsides quickly with rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, and stretching. Others have had to deal with this same issue for quite a while. As always, seeking the advice of a health care professional that can see you in person is ideal. I would say that if you’re still having discomfort leading up to the marathon, it’s always best to err on the side of caution as you don’t want this to turn into a chronic issue.

  40. Chanel

    I exercise on a regular bases but my IT pain is worse during the fall/winter (when the weather starts to turn cool/cold). I stay up all through the night with pain in both legs. It shoots up and down my legs (from the hips to the knees and all places in between). I can feel little knots up and down the legs as well. The pain is intense. It has been happening for the last 5 years. I’ve been to PT, back specialist, massage therapist, personal trainer, etc with nothing but stretching exercises, injections and pain patches coming from the appointment. I don’t have to exercise to have regular and consistent pain with my IT. The weather is changing and my IT pain (especially at night) is getting worst. What do you recommend?

  41. Beverly

    I am not a runner or a walker; I do cardio training an the elypitical 3 times a week for 20 – 30 mins. I also workout with my trainer twice a week and I have been getting monthly body massages. I have extruciating pain in my IT Band muscle on both legs and it’s been there for several months now. I wear good shoes when I workout. I don’t understand why I have this pain.

  42. humera

    I started my slow joggs again but recently about 2 weeks ago notice pain on my left side of hip and pain back/outer side of knee please let me know should I continue to jogg with IT Band streches or discontinue my joggs.

  43. Brittany

    How long will a over use it band heal I’ve had this issue for a couple of mounths and have been wear a brace but last Thursday (not thanksgiving) I had lock it up by playing soccer so could you maybe tell me how long I need to rest I have rest for a week

  44. Randy

    I have run 14 marathons the past 4 years with no problem. I do cross training or rest on off days, I always stretch, I do a yoga remedy for my legs by relaxing with them up along a wall for 10 minutes a day, and I even wear arch supports in my shoes. Before my last marathon I even got a massage the day before the race. On race day, out of the blue I felt pain (6 on a scale of 1 to 10) on the outside of my right knee after the 15th mile. I slowed down and managed to finish the remaining 11 miles but it still hurt afterwards. For the next week and a half I’d feel discomfort in my right knee when getting up or extending my right leg after sitting down relaxed. But I’ve been able to walk fine. I even did leg extension presses at the gym, the elliptical machine, and even biking with no problem. I’ve been tackling this from all angles; foam rolling, heat, cold packs, Epsom salt baths, leg raises, a deep tissue massage, and even taking some ibuprofen. Last Saturday, I went out for my first run since the marathon which was 13 days. I did feel an ache (1 on a scale of 1 to 10) in my right knee after a couple of miles but not on the level I felt during the race so I was able to finish my run. But I’m relaxing it again and resuming the foam rolling and cross training. This is very frustrating and from what I’m reading everywhere online, it sounds like treating this may take forever! I have some races coming up next year and I don’t want to miss them. Any insight?

  45. Dave Heidloff

    @humera – If you’re currently in pain, it’s usually a good idea to try resting and possibly seek professional advice.

    @Brittany – Healing times on overuse injuries can vary greatly. If you’re symptoms aren’t improving or your experiencing new symptoms (a locking knee), it may be time to discuss this with a doctor or get a screening by a physical therapist or athletic trainer.

    @Randy – It sounds like you’re trying several interventions, but there may be more to it than what can be addressed with ice, heat, foam rolling, and massage. Recurrent flare ups are reason enough to get an in-person evaluation from a professional – perhaps there could be a problem with your biomechanics or something as simple as your shoes. Unfortunately, this medium isn’t ideal for evaluating those types of issues.

  46. Susan Bolton

    First time I have ever written on line. I am so excited to find this information. I am not a runner, but I am 68 years old and no strength in my right hip and leg. Lying on my left side I can not lift my right leg up. (like the exercise shown) I have had back surgery and knee replacement. The comments made has given me some ideas on what I can try. When I walk I throw my right hip out and so I don’t stand straight, and walk with a limp. Thanks for the comments.

  47. teresa bumgardner

    I am a week out of total hip replacement and while the hip pain is gone now the outside of my knee down is giving me so much pain that I am not sleeping and nothing I do helps the pain. I am taking so much pain meds and it only makes the pain a little less. When I do sleep I wake up screaming and crying in pain. Any ideas? I am ready to just scream!!! Thanks for any advice.

  48. Steve

    HI Dave,

    1) 19 years ago I suffered a blow to the side of my knee playing basketball. Someone cut me off as I was trying for another steal of the ball and I guess that was unacceptable and he plowed into the side of my left knee at a perpendicular angle. It sent me flying through the air. I’ve have problems ever since. Is it possible for an IT band to become detached from that bone on the outside of the knee? My band rolls back and forth over the bone if I bend my knee. Excessive movement will make it very sore. Other times I may have a dull ache or mild pain. My other knee is great and the band is attached. The doctor at the time under my parents insurance was clueless about it. An MRI at the time showed a hairline fracture and what he called “a disconnected biceps tendon.” I assume he meant the band? The other otherwise may be o.k. with A LOT of rest but weakens with use, esp. when having to bend the knee. The area below the kneecap can get painful with overuse,
    I am guessing because of the other injury weakening the knee somewhat.

    2) I also suspect I have some pain in my hip from an IT band overuse a couple months ago. I was power washing my sister’s pontoon boat and weaving around under a scissor trailer back and forth for almost a few hours taking hard algae off. Later she decides we need the acid wash to finish but damage was done by then. Anyway, my hip hurt ever since, esp. when getting up. I am now off work and able to rest. How long would it normally take to heal, or should an MRI be done after a certain amount of time? I’ll do the stretching detailed in the article in the meantime. Thank you!

  49. Hannah Jenkins

    I have IT Band Sydrome and I am not a runner, nor a dancer. There has not seemed to be any reason that it suddenly popped up, however I do have very tight hamstrings. I do my streatches but it never goes away, and the doctor suggested that it would go away when im done growing as my body would get used to it. I’ve been done growing for years now and it sometimes causes major pain in my opposite hip.

  50. Ashley

    I’ve had medial patella pain off and on for about 9 months. I started a running program but had to quit when I suffered an injury at work. I ended up with a medial tibial plateau fx. I went through 8 weeks of therpay to strengthen my leg and increase mobility. The fx is better but we discovered that my IT band is tight and full of knots. Could my IT band problems cause patellar pain?? And could the tightness cause my patella to shift laterally??

  51. Laura

    I have just been diagnosed with an injured IT band. I had total knee replacement on the left knee in June and it’s going great. I play a lot of tennis and the right knee is bad and needs to be replaced too. I’ve been going to the Chiropractor and massage therapist for neck and shoulder pain and today I had them work on my butt/hip and leg pain on the right leg. Sitting on a tennis ball seems to help.

  52. Susan

    I tried the link to the hip exercises in #3. It seems the pain in my legs is IT band. Funny, I’m not an athlete at all, but a couple of years ago I moved to Europe, began walking everywhere on uneven sidewalks and developed this odd pain up and down the side of my legs. I’ve had bad knees for a long time due to a fall and now they are worse, my hips hurt (thought it was age) and getting up and down is a nightmare, since I often sit on the floor. This was too much aging. I mentioned it to my sister, who is a runner and she said, “IT band”. Recommended the foam roller (knows I can delight in the beautiful hurt of deep tissue massage) and research.
    Those hip exercises look good, but the link is broken.
    Thanks.

  53. A

    Hello there nice article. I’ve been reading all about it band syndrome. Im 22 yrs.old and i’ve been running for almost 2 years now on and off. But this past few moths 3 mos to be exact ive been running/jogging every other day. And today around 6 in the morning after i ran for 6 laps, was the first time ever i experienced this kind of pain in my lateral knee. I read tons of it band syndrome after i got this pain. How can i be so sure that this is indeed it band syndrome? Coz Im so worried now i just based my analysis from the sign and symptoms i have right now.and it reveals It band syndrome accdg to your post and others. How long do i need to rest? Prevention and treatment that can alleviate as soon as possible. Mr. Dave help me pls. Thanks.

  54. Bo Gutting

    I have IT syndrome in my righ leg for 6 weeks. I fel better and can not lean forward , squat and even sit on the floor but in the last few daysi have savier pain so sharp that I hear myself moning.the pain covers the top of my leg. It’s vibrating, and now the left leg hurts. Any thoughts ? Please ….
    Thank you
    Bo

  55. Dave Heidloff

    @A – Unfortunately, it’s impossible to diagnose anything over the internet. IT band syndrome is a possibility, but formal diagnosis should be done by a medical professional in person. Having said that, resting times vary from person to person – some people a few days, some a couple of weeks. Try altering your exercises and sticking with the mobility work discussed in the blog. Consider seeking help from a medical professional if your symptoms are not changing.

    @Bo – Those symptoms sound like they should be evaluated by your physician.

  56. Heather

    I am a massage therapist and have a couple of running clients with this syndrome. Obviously I can massage & lengthen it (my client said I do a better job than her roller), but is there anything more I can do? I’m a bit concerned about causing more inflammation. Also, what is causing the tightening? A foot that is turned out while running? The IT band really doesn’t contract, so-to-speak, so how does it tighten? Thanks!

  57. Anne

    Hi. My college age daughter has taken up Rowing at her school. Her coach is amazed by her and feels she can go on to the Olympics. Very cool. She has been complaining about pain on the outside of her leg which she was told that it may be her IT band. Unfortunately she can not change up her training, so what would your suggestion be for her to at least work out the muscle as well suggestions for exercises to do in her down time to strengthen this muscle? Thank you!

  58. Dave Heidloff

    @Heather – Lengthening and releasing fascia is a great start to relieving IT band pain. Some other methods mentioned above – strengthening supporting muscles, addressing biomechanical problems, and addressing other concurrent issues may be necessary for full resolution. Sometimes the perceived tightness can be from facia restrictions or running/walking gait patterns that put unnecessary strain on the IT band. There are a lot of moving parts, which is why sometimes stretching and mobility work alone may not be enough to achieve 100% resolution.

    @Anne – I would try readdressing the training with her coach. She won’t see progress without calming down any inflammation that may be present, and avoiding aggravating activities may be necessary to achieve that. In addition to the exercise listed above, working on general hip strength and core stability has led to a lot of success for many athletes I’ve worked with. As always, any persistent problems should be addressed by a medical professional in person.

  59. Marty

    My wife mysteriously hurt her left leg a few weeks back. She has no idea what may have caused it as she no longer is a long distance runner. At age 67, she walks, fast if possible, but the day she felt this issue come on, she did nothing more than play with a granddaughter at the playground on swings, etc… Later in the evening, the pain started and her thigh was as hard as a rock. We tried ice and elevation to no avail and when the pain became too intense, she asked to switch to heat pads. This seemed to help, but for 2 days, nothing seemed to improve. She tried some Vicodin that I had left over from some recent hernia operation which helped a little, but the odd this was the paid was very severe at night, progressing to almost unbearable even with the Vicodin. Off to see her Dr after 3 days and she diagnosed it as IT Band issue and prescribed Vicodin and physical Therapy. He Dr of Physical Therapy says she can’t figure out how she would have done it but told her she has the tightest hip/butt muscles she has ever seen, so has been working on those as well as taping from thigh to knee (she has had bruises show up inside and outside her hip with a slightly swollen knee, all of which some say is not unusual for this IT Band issue). She has some exercises she is to do at home as well as roll on a small soccer size rubber soft ball (PT says the foam roller is too strong and would hurt her at this point). Our son played football in NFL Europe and is almost a professional water and snow skier – and incredible all around athlete but due to all this is very familiar with “injuries” and rehabbing. He has a good friend who is a Physician and current head of Emergency Room at a hospital in another city. My son bounced my wife’s issue off him today, and the Dr said that often, IT Band issues or misdiagnosed and that this sounded to him like something I think was mentioned as Technotic or Techtronic Bursitis and she should get to someone who can try a cortisone shot somewhere (hip?) and would clear it up in a few days.

    What are your thoughts on this and how do we approach her Dr and PT with this “phone diagnoses”. Admittedly it seems a little unprofessional. But at this stage, she is in so much pain at night that she is almost in tears, moans in her sleep and has taken 2-3 Vicodin in 2-3 hours to hopefully help, and which does not seem to “kill the pain”. In addition, she either has caught a flu bug or something or the pain pills car causing upset stomach as she came home from work today, vomiting and went straight to be, sleeping for 4 hours. She is getting depressed and it is starting get to all our nerves……going on now for 3 weeks. Looks like we have to give up our anniversary ski trip planed for this weekend and next unless something like this bursitis shot worked. Help!!

  60. Marty

    Just sent in a request for feedback/help with my wife’s currently diagnosed IT Band sysdrome and possible misdiagnosis and possibly bursitis. The word I was looking for that my son’s Dr friend said to check out and get a cortisone shot is Trochanteric Bursitis … Does that help anyone and make sense when put together with my prior email query?

  61. Dave Heidloff

    @Marty – It never hurts to discuss any findings or research you’ve done with your physician or PT. Most are more than willing to have that discussion. Bringing additional information to the conversation is rarely a bad thing.

  62. Michael

    I am a high school lacrosse athlete and am very active, running or practicing almost every day. About 6 weeks ago, I suffered a PCL tear in my knee and was inactive other than PT for the first four weeks after that. Once I received my brace and medical clearance to do so, I started running and slowly getting back into my sport lacrosse. After 4 days of usage, the outside of my right knee and up through my leg up to my butt started bugging me and hurt most when it would go from bent to completely straight and vice versa. The pain would also be the worst at night and in the morning. My physical therapist said that it was most likely ITBS, and I am going to get conformation from my doctor soon.
    My question is: what’s the deal with recovery? Is it best to completely get off of it and rest it? How long will a less serious ITBS recovery take? I want to know the best method for recovery because lacrosse season starts in a couple weeks and I want to be available for that as soon as possible. Also, is it a reoccurring thing? If it is, I think I would rather be extra careful with the initial recovery as to avoid reoccurring problems. Thank you.

  63. Michelle

    I don’t know if you got part of my message I lost the page on my iPad. I’m a 60 yr. old woman with IT band pain. It just came on over night. Could I have gotten this from a slip and fall on ice. I didn’t have any pain for a couple of days. Was wondering if this could happen. My daughter is a massage therapist she told me I had a lot of knots where the pain is on the right side of my leg. She worked the area and there was pain when she worked it. But after I could walk up & downstairs with not so much pain. But next day the pain was back again. Should I be doing some stretching exercises also with her giving me the massages. I’ve had this pain for a couple of months now I just started the massage therapy. Will this ever go away. Thanks

  64. denise

    My pain is in my hip and low back. I do have mild scoliosis- could this cause its syndrome? My pain is mostly when I sleep or if I sit cross legged on the floor. I’ve been stretching for months doing modified pidgeon, bridge etc, but I still wake in the night in pain. Any thoughts or suggestions?

  65. Dave Heidloff

    @Michael – Timelines for recovery vary greatly due to a lot of different factors, so setting time frames is tough. Generally, resting initially and addressing muscular weakness and stiffness via mobility exercises and strengthening are effective in setting the stage for recovery. When returning to activity it’s important to ease back in slowly, listen to your body, and continue your mobility and strengthening work. As always, if you’re not seeing improvement, seek advice from a health care professional.

    @Denise – Scoliosis can cause imbalances and could be contributing to your core, hip, and leg mechanics, but it’s impossible to know for sure without seeing a health care professional for a formal evaluation. Stretching is a good start, but other interventions such as foam rolling, strengthening, and modifying your sleeping position may be effective as well. As always, if you’re not seeing improvement, seek advice from a health care professional.

  66. Kim

    Hello I have been diagnosed with IT syndrome about a year ago. I don’t ever excerice or run so I do not know how I got this. It started in my right hip then gradually over the past couple of years has got worse and it is in both hips/knees. It is so painful. It wakes me up every night multiple times. Hurts to go up and down stairs, walk, getting up after sitting. PRetty much anything I do makes it hurt. I have Bursitis in my hips also. I have had cortisone shots in both hips where the bursitis is and I feel WONDERFUL for about a couple of weeks no pain at a. I am suppose to go to pt but I really don’t understand why I woudl do something that would make my pain worse. Is there anything else that can be done for this horrible condition and how bad does it progress? Like to the point I cannot walk anymore?

  67. Sian

    Hi there,

    I am a first time marathon runner, four weeks away from the big day. For the past two months I have been battling IT band syndrome. Rollering, yoga, strength, stretching – I have tried the works!

    I had shoes/running technique assessed – all fine and am seeing a physio every two weeks in the run up. Told me to crosstrain (bike/rower/swim) to keep fitness up and just one big run a week. I am up to 16 miles.

    Had a cortisone shot two weeks ago. Told to stay off for three days, then crosstraining again. But NO running for 10 days, which i’ve done.

    I have found bruising has come in quite badly and now the inside of my knee is sore. Is this normal?! Going to have a couple more days of icing, rollering and rest then go on my 20 miler in four days.

    Any help appreciated!!!

  68. Sian

    Hello there,

    I am a first time marathon runner, big day in four weeks!!

    I have been battling IT syndrome for past two months. Tried everything, yoga, rollering, stretching, massage – nothing worked.

    I am seeing physio who has told me to just crosstrain (row/swim/bike) and do one a week maximum long runs. I have got up to 16 miles doing this.

    Had a cortisone injection in the outside of the knee (where the rubbing happens) and was told to stay off completely for three days, then I could resume crosstraining but NO running for at least 10 days. I have followed all this advice.

    Problem I have now is that it feels like it has sorted the outside knee problem, I have had some bruising but now I have pain on inside of knee that was not there before. Anyone else had this probelm? Hoping it is common and will go down with a couple of days rest and ice. Need help to stop me panicking.

    Planning a 20 miler in five days time and will rest until then.

  69. Anne

    My 16 year old son was just diagnosed by a sports medicine doctor that his IT is causing the swelling of his knee. The doctor also showed me that he is bowlegged and that this along with the extensive training he has now begun for soccer season after moderate exercise throughout this polar vortex winter has aggravated the IT. I am now at home wondering how do I know when he can return to play? The season starts next Saturday so I want to know how I know he is well enough to return to playing soccer. The doctor recommended he should use a stationary bike or elliptical trainer to continue his endurance training. Should I call back and better clarify?

  70. Dave Heidloff

    @Anne – Return to play decisions are up to the physician that diagnosed him. Sometimes that can be after a set period of rest, after certain criteria is met, or sometimes it can be up to the athlete’s pain tolerance. You may want to clarify this with his doctor.

  71. Jane

    I am glad I found this site! I think you have diagnosed my problem. Im in my 70s and we take long walks with our Yellow Lab on local beaches. I have had this pain on the outside of my knee once in a while and rest usually fixes it.
    But the other day it just got worse and worse, and talking with our street-hockey playing daughter, she said that this sounds exactly like ITBS. Ive been resting for a week or so, but it gets worse. Our house is 3 levels and I have to climb stairs constantly.
    I have just taken an Advil and that seems to help a bit. Standing with straight legs is OK, lying in bed, OK, but moving on stairs or bending the knee, OUCH.
    I seem to have the same symptoms as Kim. I will read thru all the posts as I sure have learned a lot here. Is rest the answer? Or should I call our doctor on Monday.

    Thank you,
    Jane

  72. Sue

    I enjoy hiking. When I was out today I had terrible pain in both hips by the 8th mile when going downhill my knees hurt. I have always had pain when hiking downhill, but never had the hip pain before. I work out 2-3.times a week including Yoga. Any other recommendations? How do you use the foam roller? Thhank you.

  73. Samantha

    Outside knee pain on right leg. Swollen. Also catches and pops. Can his be a symptom as well?

    Physio tape the pulls everything toward the inner thigh prevents catching. But also feels a bit unstable and knee shouldnt twist.

  74. Dean

    I have itbs in both hip had a op 2years back and never been back on my feet and have 2 walking sticks and in a lot of pain after surgery It left my leg so week can anyone help me

  75. Nancy

    @ #72: Marty…. I am experiencing similar issues with the orthopedic specialist thinking I have trochanteric bursitis. Mine has been going on since December, 2013. I’ve had cortisone shots, x-ray, arthogram, and therapy to no avail and still deal with this constant throbbing down my left side of my leg. Now looking into the L5 vertebrae but I am pretty confident that the issue I have is not in the back because it is sore to the touch at the left of the thigh. Just wondering if I also have an IT band issue. Ortho. told me that the Arthrogram would not show issues with the IT band because it is circumferential. Good luck with your wife getting down to the bottom of her issue. I do mostly cross-training to stay fit but am on the DL for a while until this is resolved. Every time I try to go back to any type of exercise it just irritates the whole thing.

  76. chris caravello

    Can tingling in the back of the leg just below the hamstring be associated with IT issues? I also have tightness in the thigh area.

  77. Art Lobaugh

    After knee surgery the muscles in my leg deteriorated by about 30% from non-use. Now that I’m able to exercise (walk/ride) I have ITBS and I think it’s from not being able to use the knee joint properly when walking. I don’t have the flex in the knee when I walk, more like a flat footed walk, and I think this is causing my pain. Anyway, if any of you have had knee surgery-gone-wrong, your IT band will most likely be an issue over time.

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