Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome

By Drew Heideman, MPT, ATC, PES

Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome

By: Drew Heideman, MPT, ATC, PES

The Iliotibial Band is a longitudinal fibrous reinforcement of the fascia lata in a knee muscle. Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome (ITBFS) is an inflammatory non-traumatic overuse injury of the knee predominately affecting long-distance runners. In addition, ITBFS may be caused by a multitude of factors. This includes training errors, worn out running shoes and/or lower leg misalignments. Knee pain usually occurs at a particular point in each training run, and is more pronounced shortly after the foot contacts the ground surface. Attempting to run through the pain will intensify the symptoms. This will eventually cause the athlete to shorten his or her stride or slow to a walk.

The IT band can get tight and cause anterior knee pain.

Illustration of the IT Band Anatomy.

Diagnosing ITBFS

Your therapist or physician can diagnose by using the modified Ober’s test. With the patient lying on the non-injured side, the practitioner raises the upper hip and thigh into slight abduction, extends the hip and thigh, and allows the leg to drop into adduction while stabilizing the pelvis and thigh. In conclusion, the test is positive for ITBFS if the thigh does not descend to or beyond 10 degrees.

Picture of the Iliotibial Band location on the leg

Iliotibial Band Location on Leg


Sharp pain on the outer aspect of the knee that can radiate into the outer thigh and/or calf.

Physical Therapy

A home exercise program on a foam roller can be taught for myofascial release. Also, combination ultrasound and muscle stimulation therapy will help restore normal muscle tone along with stretching and strengthening exercises. Iontophoresis with dexamethasone along with ice can also be used to decrease inflammation.

  • Runners Home Program:
    • A 15-to-20 minute flexibility routine with a resistance band.
    • Stretching of the hamstrings, quadriceps and IT band.
    • Apply a cold pack to lateral (outside) aspect of the knee for 20 minutes.


All JOI Physicians, Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists now offer Telemedicine services for virtual visits from the convenience of your home. Also, if you feel that it is best to stay in your own home during this time, we can still provide orthopaedic Telehealth services for you. Through the download of the free Zoom app on the your phone, tablet or laptop. Furthermore, our physicians and Telehealth for Physical Therapy can evaluate you and provide the care you need.

JOI Fracture and Injury Care

JOI Physicians are currently offering ASAP Fracture care. Make an appointment by calling (904)JOI-2000. This is a new option for patients who would like to avoid the emergency room if they have suffered a fracture or soft tissue injury. Also, to learn more about this service, read this article about fracture and injury care.

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