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What is the ITB and why does it cause problems?

The ITB (illiotibial band) is a long, thick band of connective tissue that runs from muscles in the hip and pelvis and attaches to a number of bony landmarks around the outside of the knee

The ITB has an important stabilising role at the pelvis and hip, and contributes to maintaining side-to-side control when standing on one leg

Both ends of the ITB can become overloaded and start to cause pain, however this is more common at the knee end of the structure.

Common causes of pain here include excessive increase in exercise load, suboptimal biomechanics (e.g. the feet coming across the midline when running), and poor hip muscle strength and stability.

Treatment for ITB-related pain revolves around addressing training load, modifying biomechanics and technique, and strengthening exercises, particularly for the hip and pelvis.

Contrary to popular belief, the ITB can not be released, stretched or lengthened. Although self massage techniques such as foam rolling can help temporarily decrease pain, they are unlikely to make structural changes. Stretching the ITB can actually contribute to the compression and increase pain.

If you or someone you know is experiencing pain on the outside of the knee, please come and see one of our experienced clinicians, who can diagnose your condition and formulate the most appropriate management plan

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