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Runner's Knee - Ilio Tibial Band Friction Syndrome

by Alice Baquie 2 min read

Runner's Knee -  Ilio Tibial Band Friction Syndrome

The fibrous band of tissue called the Ilio Tibial Band (ITB) runs from the buttock along the outside of your thigh and into the knee. ITB Syndrome or 'Runner's Knee' which as its name suggests is common to runners, cyclists and tennis players is an overload or overuse injury.

An increase of training in a short timeframe or increase in the intensity of training can lead to ITB Syndrome and a sign of glute weakness which causes over pronation at the ankle and knee valves. So this is really a chain problem where one muscle weakness can cause issues and pain in other joints.

What are the Symptoms of Ilio Tibial Syndrome?

Generally the first symptom is a sharp pain on the lateral (outside) side of your knee. In some cases the pain travels up to your hip. You'll find that the pain increases when climbing stairs or running or jogging. The pain is most intense at the start of your flexing of the knee. Swelling is not usually a symptom and may indicate a different injury. 

Generally the pain will start slowly and build up the more you raise the regularity or intensity of your training/running and is exacerbated by running up hill and walking up and down stairs.

How can we manage Ilio Tibial Syndrome?

Rest will ease the symptoms quickly. Some research suggests that braces and tapes can provide some minimal short term relief of symptoms. However to solve the problem you'll need to focus on particular exercises to strengthen your glute and correct your running gait. 

What are other Knee Injuries and what are the Symptoms?

The following table outlines some key symptoms to look out for in common knee injuries. This table is not a replacement for seeking a professional diagnosis but may help you to identify issues for further research.

My best advice is to seek professional help from a doctor or physiotherapist if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms to correctly diagnose your issue and develop a plan for treatment.

Knee Injury Symptoms Chart

Knee Injury Chart


REFERENCES: Mucha MD, Caldwell W, Schlueter EL, Walters C, Hassen A, Hip abductor strength and lower extremity running related injury in distance runners: A systematic review., Journal of Science Medicine in Sports, 2017;20(4):349-355 .Falvey, E., Clark, R., Franklyn‐Miller, A., Bryant, A., Briggs, C., & Mccrory, P. (n.d.). Iliotibial band syndrome: an examination of the evidence behind a number of treatment options. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 20(4), 580–587.

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