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Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The iliotibial band is a band of tissue that runs along the outside of knee and stabilizes the knee joint during activity, particularly running, walking, hiking or cycling. The continuous rubbing of the band over the structures of the knee can cause the band to become inflamed and irrittated, causing pain in the area above and around the knee. This condition is known as iliotibial band syndrome, or ITBS, and is most common in endurance runners and cyclists.


ITBS usually presents as a stinging sensation just above the knee joint or along the entire length of the iliotibial band, which may get worse over time. The pain may be worse during running, particularly when the foot strikes the ground.


An orthopedic specialist, sports medicine specialist, or other physician can help determine if you have iliotibial band syndrome using simple tests. In some cases, MRI may be used to determine the extent of the injury.


Treatment of iliotibial band syndrome requires activity modification, stretching and strengthening of the affected limb. The goal of treatment is to get you back to doing the activities you enjoy as quickly as possible.

A physical therapy program can be presribed by your doctor and will include exercises to strengthen the structures around the knee. The physical therapists at GAMC's Therapy & Wellness Center are experienced in rehabilitating iliotibial band syndrome and will able to create a personalized plan tailored to your individual goals.

For more severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Only your doctor will be able to make that determination.

For a referral to a GAMC orthopedic or sports medicine specialist, call (818) 409-8100. To learn more about the Therapy & Wellness Center, call (323) 255-5409.