What Is IT Band Syndrome?

The iliotibial band is a dense, fibrous tissue band on the lateral aspect of your leg that can be the source of your hip and/or knee pain. One function of this band is to provide stability to the knee. However, when this band is subject to overuse or repetitive strain motions, it can lead to fatigue and ultimately, injury. The key is to figure out what is causing this pain. If there is pain present, there likely is an underlying dysfunction that has been there longer than the actual pain has been present.

IT Band Syndrome is one of the most common causes of knee pain in athletes. It is an overuse injury caused by repetitive friction of the iliotibial band across the Lateral Epicondyle.  This syndrome presents as lateral (outside) knee pain due to tightness of the ITB and hip abductors. As a result of movement of the band during flexion and extension of the knee and hip, a tight band could be responsible for the inflammation at the knee or even the hip, or along the IT Band.  It isn’t uncommon for someone who has had previous knee injury and/or surgery to experience pain in the IT band since it travels down the lateral hip to its insertion on the tibia. Pain could also develop from muscular imbalances being present as well as weak hip muscles that are responsible for hip stability.

One of the most common injuries we address with Active Release Techniques (ART) is IT band syndrome.

The fascial band travels down the outer hip and inserts on the lateral knee. Given the distance it covers, it is clearly evident why someone could be experiencing pain in the upper/outer hip or at the lower portion at its attachment at the lateral knee. If the IT band dysfunction is not addressed, the pain can persist for quite some time.  An important, and very common soft tissue junction to assess is where the IT band and vastus lateralis (lateral quad muscle) lie adjacent to one another. They are both large structures with slightly different actions. The IT band and vastus lateralis junction can develop adhesions where the two tissues meet and cause decreased motion or slide between them. This limited motion can alter normal hip and knee mechanics, which in turn can cause pain in the hip and/or knee.

We help our patients recover from IT band injuries quickly by implementing ART and Graston into their treatment program.

Improving the motion and slide between adjacent tissues allows them to work more efficiently. Both Graston and ART are completely natural and non-invasive, and prevent the need for steroid injections and other invasive treatments. If your pain persists and stretching, icing and rest aren’t enough, consider the permanent solutions that ART and Graston Technique offer. They can have you back on your feet and running again in just a few weeks.