Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)- Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

This Blog Covers…

  • The iliotibial band is a thick muscle that starts at the hip and travels down to the knee. It is located along the outer thigh. 
  • Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) occurs when the iliotibial band becomes inflamed from overuse or poor training habits, causing pain.
  • The pain management specialists at Premier Spine and Pain explain the causes, symptoms and treatments for iliotibial band syndrome.

The iliotibial band is a tendon-like muscle that moves back and forth along the lateral femoral epicondyle when walking or running. Given the muscle’s movements and contact with other muscles and tendons, inflammation and pain may be present on the outer side of the knee. Below are the causes, symptoms and treatments for ITBS.


The syndrome is caused by overuse of the iliotibial band, which in turn, could be caused by a number of things, including:

  • Poor training habits
  • Inadequate stretching before physical activity
  • Running on a sloped or elevated surface
  • Anatomy abnormalities


Symptoms of iliotibial band syndrome generally include pain and inflammation that may worsen with physical activity. Patients may experience pain in different areas of the leg, including:

  • The outer side of the thigh, just above the knee
  • Pain along the iliotibial band
  • Pain felt nearest the knee or hip


Rest, ice, compression and elevation should be applied as soon as pain is felt to reduce inflammation. Over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medicine (Tylenol, ibuprofen, etc.) may also be used for pain relief. Your pain management physician may recommend exercises and stretches to keep the muscle/tendon limber and prevent further injury. Minimally invasive steroidal injections may also be administered to decrease swelling and pain. Severe cases of ITBS may require surgery.

Premier Spine and Pain Management’s pain management doctors are double board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Management and are dedicated to the treatment of chronic pain symptoms for patients in Easton, Pennsylvania, Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Clifton, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. For more information or to make an appointment, call 610-438-5071, 908-454-5338, or 973-779-7246.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material. 

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