ITB Friction Syndrome

The Iliotibial band (ITB) is a thickening of a fascial wrapping around the thigh. It is often irritated over the bottom of the thigh bone that it overlays (just above the knee). Iliotibial band friction syndrome is an overuse injury caused by repeated trauma.


What Causes ITB Friction Syndrome?

The repetitive sliding of the ITB over the bony protuberance at the knee causes friction. This sets up an inflammatory response which results in pain.


Downhill running is the biggest risk factor for ITB Friction Syndrome as it places the knee between 20° – 30° of knee bend. The ITB is most irritated in this position.


Other causes include: poor running biomechanics,  an increase in size of the quadriceps, increased tension in hip muscles such as gluteals and tensor fascia lata or weakness of the hip abductor muscles.

What are the symptoms of ITB Friction Syndrome?

Pain and swelling is located on the outside of the knee and is usually experienced in downhill running or cycling. Symptoms are usually felt at about the same time during each bout of exercise and worsens if exercise continues.


Treatment for ITB Friction Syndrome

Physiotherapy aims to restore pain- free range of movement with capacity to return to normal activity through soft tissue releases, knee motor control and strengthening exercises, stretches and proprioceptive exercises. Correcting movement patterns and joint mechanics will also help to prevent future episodes of pain.


Patients often respond well to physiotherapy treatment. In severe cases, if a patient does not respond to Physiotherapy treatment, they may undergo surgical release of the iliotibial band.


Your Physiotherapist will discuss your treatment goals and educate you about the condition, the rehabilitation process and preventative methods to reduce the risk of future injury.


To book an appointment with one of our skilled Physiotherapists please call (02) 8068 8832 or email us at [email protected].