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  • Writer's pictureAdam Whatley

Best practices in treatment and prevention of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Treatment and prevention of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Understanding Iliotibial Band Syndrome: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention Advice

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) or ITB pain is a common overuse injury affecting athletes and active individuals. ITBS is often caused by repetitive friction of the IT band on the outside of the lower thighbone, leading to inflammation of the IT band and associated bursa. Understanding its causes, treatments, and preventive measures is crucial for managment and avoiding the condition becoming chronic.

Common causes of iliotibial band syndrome?

1. Overuse

Engaging in repetitive activities such as running, cycling, or hiking can strain the iliotibial band.

2. Muscle Imbalances

Weakness in hip or gluteal muscles and tightness in the iliotibial band contribute to ITBS.

3. Biomechanical Issues

Poor foot placement or running form can exacerbate strain on the iliotibial band.

4. Training Errors

Rapid increases in training intensity or duration without adequate conditioning can lead to ITBS.

The biomechanical causes of IT band pain stem from issues related to movement and alignment during physical activities. Some key biomechanical factors below 👇🏼


Excessive inward rolling of the foot during walking or running can cause the leg to rotate internally, leading to increased stress on the IT band.

Leg Length Discrepancy

A significant difference in the length of the legs can result in altered biomechanics and uneven distribution of forces along the lower extremities, potentially aggravating the IT band.

Hip Abduction Weakness

Weakness in the hip abductor muscles, such as the gluteus medius, can lead to poor control of pelvic stability and increased lateral movement of the hip, placing strain on the IT band.

Tightness in Muscles

Tightness in the IT band itself, as well as in surrounding muscles such as the tensor fasciae latae (TFL) and quadriceps, can alter biomechanics and increase friction between the IT band and the underlying structures.

Gait Abnormalities

Irregularities in gait mechanics, such as excessive hip adduction or internal rotation, can contribute to IT band pain by altering the alignment and movement patterns of the lower extremities.

Poor Footwear

Inappropriate footwear that lacks sufficient support or cushioning can exacerbate biomechanical issues, leading to increased stress on the IT band during physical activities.

Addressing these biomechanical factors through proper assessment, corrective exercises, footwear adjustments, and biomechanical interventions can help alleviate IT band pain and prevent its recurrence.

Best treatment options for ITBS

1. Reduced Repetitive Activity

Avoid activities that worsen the pain to allow the affected tissues to heal.

2. Ice Therapy

Apply ice packs to the affected area to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.

3. Stretching

Incorporate stretches targeting the iliotibial band and surrounding muscles to improve flexibility.

4. Strengthening Exercises

Focus on strengthening glutes and core muscles to address muscle imbalances.

5. Foam Rolling

Use a foam roller to massage the iliotibial band and release tension in the muscles.

6. Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Seek guidance from a musculoskeletal professional (physiotherapist or osteopath) for tailored exercises and manual therapy to address underlying issues.

7. Medication

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help manage pain and inflammation.

Prevention for iliotibial band syndrome

1. Gradual Progression

Gradually increase training intensity and duration to prevent overuse injuries.

2. Strength & Proprioception Training

Incorporate exercises targeting hip and gluteal muscles to maintain muscle balance and stability.

3. Proper Footwear

Choose appropriate footwear for your activity to support proper biomechanics and reduce strain on the iliotibial band.

4. Stretching and Mobility

Prioritise regular stretching to maintain flexibility and prevent tightness in the iliotibial band.

5. Cross-Training

Engage in a variety of activities to avoid overuse and promote overall fitness.

6. Warm-Up and Cool-Down

Always warm up before exercise and cool down afterward to prepare muscles and prevent injury.

7. Injection Therapy

This can often be corticosteroid injection or platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection therapy. Further information can be found here.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (otherwise known as ITB friction syndrome) can be a debilitating condition, but with proper understanding of its causes, effective treatments, and preventive measures, individuals can manage and avoid ITBS, allowing them to continue pursuing their active lifestyles with confidence.


Don’t let joint pain, joint damage, sports injuries or arthritis get in the way of allowing you to do what you want. Schedule a consultation at Dynamic Regenerative Medicine today, and let us treat your condition, provide pain relief and get you back to your full and active lifestyle. We have clinics operating out of Solihull (Henley-In-Arden) and Birmingham (Edgbaston).

Call us today on 01564330773


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