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IT Band Syndrome

How to treat IT Band Syndrome

IT Band Syndrome (ITBS) is a musculoskeletal condition that causes pain on the outside of the knee and into the thigh. It is due to a tight IT Band that rubs the lateral condyle of the femur at approximately 30-40 degrees of knee flexion. Over pronation of the foot and downhill running pre-dispose people to this condition. ITBS is a common injury for runners or athletes, although it can happen in sedentary people as well.

ITBS classically appears as lateral knee pain that gradually increases over days or even weeks. The pain seems to be related to running or training. The pain will often be at its worst, in the gait cycle, just before heel strike. Some patients might hear a squeaking or thumping sound with knee flexion and extension.

The best way to treat IT Band syndrome revolves around stretching, post isometric stretching, soft tissue therapies and strengthening. Chiropractors are very good at treating IT Band syndrome and identifying the underlying causes of the condition.

3 Steps to treating IT Band Syndrome:

1. Stop Running- Running is the primary aggravating factor in this condition. If running increases your pain on the lateral side of the knee try cycling or running in a pool. Cycling and running in a pool have very little impact forces and should not aggravate the IT Band. They are good for maintaining fitness and increasing blood flow to the legs which in turn will bring faster healing.

2. See a Chiropractor- Chiropractors are musculoskeletal doctors and are trained in therapies that will help increase the rate at which your body heals. A chiropractor will likely do a combination of the following therapies: Graston Therapy (am instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization technique), therapeutic ultrasound (to increase microcirculation), Electrical stimulation (to relax the muscles), massage, physiotherapy, stretching or cold laser (to speed healing time). Chiropractors can also assess your feet, specifically over pronation, a complicating factor to ITBS.

3. Strengthen the muscles of the thigh and buttock- Many IT Band problems can be caused or complicated by weakness of the glute and hip muscles. It is important to address the weak muscles and strengthen them because a weak muscle is a tight/shortened muscle. The weak or shortened muscle then attaches to the IT Band making it even tighter and increasing the pain felt at the lateral knee. Chiropractors will prescribe specific exercise to target these muscles and strengthen them leading to decreased pain and a resolution to the problem.

-Seth Elliott DC
Owner of Park Hill Chiropractic in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dr. Elliott graduated from Oklahoma State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Promotion and Exercise Science. He later attended Cleveland Chiropractic College and earned his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree


- Souza, Thomas A. Differential Diagnosis and Management for the Chiropractor: fifth edition.