Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

If you've ever experienced that nagging pain on the outside of your knee while running or after a long hike, you might have encountered Iliotibial Band Syndrome, or ITBS. It's a common issue among active individuals, but understanding what causes it, recognizing its symptoms, and knowing how to treat it can make all the difference. In this article, we'll delve into ITBS in a way that's easy to grasp, helping you find relief and get back to your active lifestyle. So, let's break it down, step by step.

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)?

Iliotibial Band Syndrome, or ITBS, is a common knee injury that affects many active individuals. It's often referred to as "runner's knee" but can happen to anyone who engages in repetitive leg movements, like walking, cycling, or hiking. ITBS is an overuse injury, and it occurs when the iliotibial band, a thick band of fibrous tissue that runs from your hip to your shin, becomes inflamed or tight. This tightness can cause friction as the band rubs against the outer part of your knee joint.

Causes of ITBS

The exact cause of ITBS can vary from person to person, but a few common factors contribute to its development. These include:


  • Overuse: Engaging in activities that require repeated bending and straightening of the knee can lead to ITBS.
  • Muscle Imbalances: Weak hip and thigh muscles can cause the IT band to overcompensate, leading to irritation.
  • Improper Footwear: Wearing shoes with inadequate support can affect your gait and lead to ITBS.
  • Running on Uneven Surfaces: Running on cambered roads or uneven terrain can strain the IT band.
  • Sudden Increases in Activity: Rapidly intensifying your workouts can overload the IT band.

Understanding the IT Band

To comprehend ITBS, it's essential to understand the iliotibial band (IT band) itself. The IT band is a thick strip of connective tissue that extends from your hip, down the outer side of your thigh, and attaches just below your knee. Its role is to help stabilize and move your knee joint. When this band tightens or becomes inflamed, it can lead to pain and discomfort on the outer part of the knee.

Signs and Symptoms of Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The symptoms of ITBS are often unmistakable. They can include:

  • Pain on the outer side of the knee, typically starting as a dull ache and intensifying with activity.
  • A sensation of the IT band "snapping" over the knee when bending and straightening the leg.
  • Swelling on the outer part of the knee.
  • Pain that worsens with activities that involve bending and straightening the knee, like running or going up and down stairs.

Diagnosing ITBS

If you suspect you have ITBS, it's crucial to seek a proper diagnosis. A healthcare professional, such as an orthopaedic surgeon in Mumbai or a knee surgeon in Mumbai, can assess your condition through a physical examination and, if necessary, imaging tests like MRI or ultrasound. They'll consider your medical history and the details of your symptoms to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment Options for Iliotibial Band Syndrome

The good news is that ITBS is treatable, and various options are available to help you recover. The choice of treatment will depend on the severity of your condition. Here are some options to consider:

  1. Non-Surgical Approaches

For mild to moderate cases, non-surgical treatments can be highly effective. These may include:

  • Rest: Giving your knee a break from the activities that aggravate the pain.
  • Icing: Applying ice to reduce inflammation.
  • Physical Therapy: Targeted exercises can help correct muscle imbalances and improve IT band function.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Over-the-counter or prescribed medications to manage pain and inflammation.


  1. Surgical Interventions

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Surgical options can involve:

  • IT Band Release: A surgical procedure to release and lengthen the IT band.
  • Bursectomy: Removal of the bursa sac, which can become inflamed and contribute to ITBS.
  • Other Procedures: In some instances, additional procedures may be required to address specific issues.

Prevention and Recovery for Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Preventing ITBS is often the best strategy, and it starts with the following steps:

  • Strengthening the hip and thigh muscles.
  • Wearing appropriate footwear.
  • Gradually increasing activity levels.
  • Stretching and foam rolling to maintain IT band flexibility.


Recovery from ITBS can be a journey, but with the right guidance and persistence, most individuals can return to their regular activities.

Finding the Right Surgeon

If surgical intervention is needed, it's essential to find the right orthopaedic surgeon in Mumbai or knee surgeon in Mumbai. Consider the following when making your choice:

  • Experience in treating ITBS.
  • Board certification and credentials.
  • Patient reviews and testimonials.
  • A comfortable rapport during your initial consultation.


Certainly! Dr. Amyn Rajani is a renowned knee surgeon based in Mumbai, India. He is highly regarded for his expertise in treating various knee-related conditions, including Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). With a commitment to providing the best care for his patients, Dr. Rajani has gained recognition for his skills in diagnosing and treating knee problems.


As a knee surgeon in Mumbai, Dr. Amyn Rajani specializes in both surgical and non-surgical approaches to address knee issues. His extensive experience in the field of orthopaedics and his dedication to patient well-being make him a sought-after healthcare professional for those in need of knee care.


If you are experiencing knee pain, whether it's related to ITBS or any other knee condition, seeking the expertise of a specialist like Dr. Amyn Rajani is a wise choice. He can guide you through the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process, ensuring that you receive the best care possible. It's essential to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced knee surgeon to address your specific knee concerns effectively.


To schedule an appointment, call on Clinic Number: 91-88989 75355 / 91-22-23619137

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQ 1: What exactly is ITBS?

ITBS, or Iliotibial Band Syndrome, is a common knee injury caused by inflammation or tightness in the iliotibial band. It results in pain on the outer side of the knee, often aggravated by activities involving knee movement.


FAQ 2: Can ITBS be prevented?

Yes, ITBS can often be prevented by maintaining strong hip and thigh muscles, wearing proper footwear, gradually increasing activity levels, and practicing regular stretching and foam rolling.


FAQ 3: What are non-surgical treatments?

Non-surgical treatments for ITBS include rest, icing, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications. These methods are effective for mild to moderate cases.


FAQ 4: When is surgery necessary?

Surgery for ITBS is considered in severe cases that don't respond to non-surgical treatments. It may involve IT band release, bursectomy, or other procedures.


FAQ 5: How can I choose the right surgeon?

To select the right orthopaedic surgeon in Mumbai or knee surgeon in Mumbai for ITBS treatment, consider their experience, credentials, patient feedback, and your comfort level during consultations.


In conclusion, Iliotibial Band Syndrome is a common ailment that can affect active individuals, but it's manageable and treatable. Whether you opt for non-surgical approaches or require surgery, the key is to seek expert care and follow a comprehensive plan for recovery. By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatments of ITBS, you can take proactive steps to stay active and pain-free. Remember, it's your knee, and it deserves the best care possible.

One Thought to “Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS) – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments”

  1. Lalit

    Very useful information

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