Coping with ITB


Coping with ITB injuries


An ITB injury is a common cause of pain on the outside of the knee and normally occurs in runners. It is believed to result from constant friction of the ilio-tibial band sliding over the lateral femoral epicondyle (bony prominence) of the femur when the leg moves back and forth.

What is the ilio-tibial band?

It is a continuation of the tendonous portion of the TFL (tensor facia lata) which is a muscle that runs down the outside of the leg that moves the thigh outwards and towards the abdomen. The function of the ITB is to stabilise the knee and help with movement of the thigh and hip. The ITB inserts into the outside of the knee which is where the pain is felt.


How the pain starts:

The ITB moves forward as the knee extends and moves back as the knee flexes. Friction occurs when the knee flexes at a 30 degree angle. This continuous friction results in irritation and inflammation.

Causes of ITB injuries

Too much exercise too soon (sudden increased hill training or increased distance.)

Changes in running surfaces.

Unsuitable or old shoes.

Faulty biomachanics of the body eg, excessive pronation of the feet, leg length inequality, weak hip abductors etc.

Running on the camber of the road.

Treatment of ITB injuries

ACUTE: rest, ice, massage and anti-inflammatories.

SUB- ACUTE: Include stretches when inflammation has subsided and later add strengthening exercises.



Camelot international sports massage manual (2013), page 192