Iliotibial Band Syndrome (aka Runners Knee) - Townsville Massage

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

Iliotibial Band Syndrome is sometimes referred to as Runners Knee and Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome.

The Iliotibial Band is a band of thick, fibrous tissue which attaches to both the Iliac Crest of the Pelvis (aka hip bone) and the Tensor Fascia Latae muscle. It then runs down the outside of the thigh and inserts into the outside surface of the Tibia (aka shin bone). Its function is to extend or straighten the knee joint as well as abducting the hip or moving it out sideways.

The Tensor Fascia Latae (aka TFL) muscle is a muscle that works over your hip joint. If you put your hands on your hips as if you had your hands in your trouser pockets, your palms should be sitting over the TFL.

As the Iliotibial Band (aka ITB) passes over the lateral epicondyle (a bony part of the femur of the outside of the knee) it is subject to friction. At an angle between 20˚ and 30˚ the Iliotibial Band flicks across the lateral epicondyle. When the knee is being extended or straightened, it flicks in front of the epicondyle and when it is bent, it ducks back in behind.

Iliotibial Band syndrome is frequent in runners because 20-30˚ is about  the angle the knee is at when the foot strikes the ground when running. In people who run regularly this may lead to aggravation of the ITB commonly known as Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome.

What causes IT Band Syndrome?

Certain factors may make you more susceptible to developing Iliotibial Band syndrome:

  • A naturally tight or wide IT band.
  • Weak hip muscles such. as Gluteus Medius.
  • Trigger points within the IT band and Glute muscles.

  • Over-pronation (foot rolls inward)
  • Overuse.
  • Excessive hill running.
  • Running on an uneven surface.
  • Different leg lengths.

Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome:

  • There will be pain on the outside of the knee (at or around the lateral epicondyle of the femur).
  • A tightness in the Iliotibial Band (ITB)
  • Pain normally aggravated by running, especially running downhill.
  • Pain during flexing or extending the knee, worsened by pressing in at the side of the knee over the sore area.
  • Tender trigger points in the Butt region may also be present.
  • Weakness in hip abduction.

What can the athlete do to prevent Runners knee?

  • Rest.
  • Avoid painful activities like downhill running.
  • Use ice to reduce any inflammation.
  • Always stretch the ITB after training.
  • Massage can also be very helpful in correcting excessive ITB tightness.


Massage that involves specific stretching is a good start and frequent Iliotibial Band stretches should be maintained even after symptoms have ceased.

If you haven’t tried Remedial Massage and you’re experiencing pain in your Iliotinial Band… make a call today.  Arrange an appointment and experience the many benefits that Remedial Massage has to offer.