IT Band Pain - Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Have you been biking a lot recently, only to find that you've developed pain on the outside of your knee? Perhaps you have hip pain after you increased your running mileage? IT band pain is a common cause of knee and hip pain in bikers, runners and people whose activity involves repeated hip and knee bending.  It often happens when:

  • Activity level is increased too rapidly
  • Insufficient flexibility of the hip
  • Pelvis instability/misalignment
  • Weakness of hip and core abdominal muscles 
  • Poor foot mechanics (pronation, supination etc.)

When IT band pain develops, it can become a crippling pain that prevents you from running and training.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome,  also known as Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome, is often described as a sharp, burning pain around the outside part of the knee, thigh or hip.  IT band pain is often noticed during exercise and gets worse if you continue the activity. It's caused by rubbing and inflammation of the IT band over the bone at the knee joint.  The IT band is a stretch of fibrous tissue that extends from the outer hip down to below the knee.  The IT band fibers begin at the iliac crest in the pelvis and runs on the outer thigh and attaches to the tibia of the lower leg.  The IT band extends from the tensor fascia latae muscle which assists with flexion, abduction and medial rotation at the hip.  The IT band's primary function is to coordinate muscle activity to stabilize the knee during running, jumping and side to side movements.   

Home Treatment

IT Band pain can be very painful to the point where you have to stop your activity completely.  Fortunately, there are things you can do at home to get relief and decrease the pain and inflammation. Here's what you can do:

  • Ice, Heat, Ice!  Also known as hot and cold contrast therapy, alternating between ice and heat therapy can help minimize painful inflammation while stimulating blood circulation needed for healing.  
  • Gentle stretching of the hip musclesand joint to increase flexibility and decrease the stiffness of the IT band. 
  • Self massage with a foam roller or massage ball can help relieve knots and break up scar tissue that builds up in the muscles connecting to the IT Band. 

If rest and self treatment does not resolve your symptoms, you should consult with a doctor or therapist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.  Call 212-729-0856 or schedule your appointment online.  

Chiropractic Treatment

  • Chiropractic treatment can relieve IT band pain quickly and naturally.  Your doctor will start with reviewing your training history, when your symptoms began, how the problem has progressed and what activities aggravate it. Your muscle flexibility, strength and range of motion will be examined. The doctor may check your gait and your pelvic alignment, and also evaluate your posture and form during the activity that causes the IT band pain.  With this assessment, the doctor can determine the root cause of your IT band pain and provide the appropriate treatment plan to relieve your pain and quickly return you to your acitivity.

    During the acute phase, your doctor may use ultrasound therapy and electrical current therapy to decrease the pain and inflammation.  As the pain and inflammation is decreased, the doctor will use gentle techniques to improve mobility of the joints and muscles of the affected leg.  Dysfunction of the hip and leg add tension on the IT band and needs to be relieved.  Chiropractic techniques such as manipulation therapy and the Graston Technique provide quick results.   

Medical Treatment

  • Your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to help control the pain and reduce inflammation.  If necessary, a corticosteroid can be injected into the inflamed area.  Although not common, surgery may be suggested to relieve tension on the iliotibial band.


Don't let your IT band pain stop you from your activities.  Call (212) 729-0856 to schedule an appointment or request an appointment online today.