IT Band Syndrome

Your knees are one of the hardest-working joints in your body and they require a heavy-duty support system. The iliotibial band, also referred to as the IT band, is a strong, fibrous band of tissue that runs along the outer thigh from the hip to just below the knee. The IT band stabilizes the outer part of the knee as it flexes and extends. This high amount of movement and friction makes it susceptible to overuse injuries, inflammation, and pain.

Pain can occur anywhere along the IT band from your hip to your knee but is often most present in the outer side of the knee. Left untreated, irritation and inflammation in the IT band can lead to reduced range of motion in the knee and increasing levels of pain.

Our hip and knee specialists at Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster are expertly trained to treat and relieve the unique pain and conditions of these weight-bearing joints. Learn more about our hip and knee specialists how we can help to get you moving again.


  • Sharp or burning pain along the IT band that can range from the hip to the knee but is typically most intense in the outer knee
  • Pain may increase during movement that engages the IT band such as running, cycling, squatting, walking up and down stairs, or standing for long durations
  • More severe conditions may feel deeper pain that is present even at rest


  • Overuse of the outer knee such as with running, cycling, or repetitive squatting
  • Leg length discrepancies or knock or bow knees may put added stress on the IT band during activity

Risk Factors

  • Poor stance or posture when engaged in high-intensity repetitive movement such as when running, cycling, or lifting weights
  • Weakness or decreased flexibility of muscles surrounding IT band
  • Exercising or playing sports on uneven terrain
  • Sudden changes in activity intensity or duration
  • Poorly fitting footwear


  • Physical examination of the affected area
  • X-ray to show surrounding bone health
  • MRI or CT scan to show muscle and soft tissue health

Treatment Options

  • RICE therapy: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
  • Physical therapy
  • Wearing supportive shoes and changing training shoes after 300 – 500 miles of use
  • Surgical repair is rare and generally occurs when pain is persistent and nonresponsive to nonsurgical treatments