ITB Friction Syndrome

PhysioAdvisor Newsletter > ITB Friction Syndrome

PhysioAdvisor Newsletter – ITB Friction Syndrome


ITB Friction Syndrome

In this month’s newsletter we take a look at one of the most common overuse running injuries affecting the knee, ‘Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome‘, and offer our Top 5 Treatment and Prevention Tips for this condition.

What is ITB Friction Syndrome?

Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome Anatomy

Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome is a condition that commonly presents in runners which typically causes pain at the outer (lateral) aspect of the knee. It occurs where the iliotibial band (ITB) crosses the knee joint, where it rubs against the bony prominence (epicondyle) of the thigh bone (femur), causing inflammation and damage to the ITB.

Patients with ITB Friction Syndrome usually experience an ache in the outer aspect of the knee that may increase to a sharper pain with activity. Pain is typically experienced during activities that bend or straighten the knee particularly whilst weight bearing. Pain may be worse first thing in the morning or following activity (once the body has cooled down). This may be associated with knee stiffness and can sometimes cause the patient to limp.

Learn more about ITB Friction Syndrome including Signs & Symptoms, Contributing Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment.

Our Top 5 Tips for ITB Friction Syndrome

The following are our Top 5 injury prevention and treatment tips for ITB Friction Syndrome:

1. Follow the RICE Regime

1. Follow the RICE Regime

Follow the RICE Regime in the first 72 hours following injury or when inflammatory signs are present (i.e. night-time pain, morning ache/stiffness or pain at rest). This should primarily involve:

  • Rest – from aggravating activity
  • Ice – the sore area for 20 mins every 2 hours using an ice pack wrapped in a damp tea towel
  • Compress – the injured area with an appropriate compression bandage (ensure this is not too tight)
  • Elevate – the affected leg above the level of your heart

Learn more about the RICE Regime.

2. ITB Foam Roller Self Massage

2. ITB Foam Roller Self Massage

A “tight” ITB often contributes to the development of ITB Friction Syndrome. It can be difficult to properly stretch the ITB, however, self massage using a foam roller can be extremely effective in releasing the ITB and reducing the symptoms associated with ITB Friction Syndrome.

Check out our Foam Roller Exercises for the lower limb.

3. Gluteal Strengthening Exercises

3. Gluteal Strengthening Exercises

A common issue seen in patients with ITB friction syndrome is a lack of pelvic stability and gluteal strength. Incorporating some gluteal strengthening exercises into your training regime is an important component of rehabilitation for ITB friction syndrome.

Check out our Gluteal Strengthening Exercises.

4. Have Your Running Technique Assessed

4. Have Your Running Technique Assessed

Errors in running technique can often contribute to the development of ITB Friction Syndrome. Have your running technique assessed by a physiotherapist who is skilled in running biomechanics.

Check out our running technique injury prevention tips in ‘Running Injuries‘.

5. Stretch Key Muscles

5. Stretch Key Muscles

Ensure your flexibility is adequate in the key muscles which are commonly found to be tight in patients with ITB friction syndrome. Some of these muscles include the quadriceps, gluteals and calfs. Following sport or activity, aim to spend 10-15 mins stretching these muscles to ensure they do not tighten up.

Check out our Quadriceps Stretches, Gluteal Stretches and Calf Stretches.

Featured Products

ITB Strap     ITB Strap

The Pro-Tec ITB Strap can help alleviate the symptoms of ITB Friction Syndrome. It features a compression pad which provides targeted compression and stabilisation to the Iliotibial band, helping to support it during activity. The strap therefore helps in the treatment of ITB Friction Syndrome by reducing stress to the iliotibial band.

Check out the Pro-Tec ITB Strap in the PhysioAdvisor Shop.


Foam Rollers     Foam Rollers

Foam rollers are an excellent rehabilitation tool used in the treatment of ITB Friction Syndrome. They can be used to perform effective self massage techniques to muscles and soft tissue (such as the ITB), and can help to improve spinal flexibility and posture.

Check out our Foam Rollers in the PhysioAdvisor Shop.