iliotibial band syndrome

Classic Presentation

Iliotibial band syndrome is also known as runner's knee. The patient complains of pain on the outside of the knee that gradually increased over a few days to weeks.  The pain seems to be related to running (although sedentary individuals may develop similar pain).  Specifically, downhill running seems to be aggravating and pain occurs when extending the leg just before heel strike.  Some patients may hear a squeaking sound with flexion-extension of the knee.


The cause of this syndrome is believed to be a tight ITB that rubs against the lateral epicondyle of the femur at approximately 30 to 40 degrees of knee flexion.  Recent evidence suggests that either a thicker or wider band predisposes patients to this syndrome.  In addition, that the longer one performs a repetitive activity with the knee flexed to 30 to 40 degrees, the more likely ITB syndrome will develop.  Therefore, downhill running or slower running (jogging) may be the major factor because these activities occur primarily with the knee in the "impingement" range.  Running at faster speeds seems less likely to cause the syndrome. 

A Healthy Knee

Ligaments connect the bones and help brace the joint by limiting forward and sideways motion and rotation.  Muscles, connected to the bones by tendons, provide strength for movement.

An Injured Knee

Long-term wear, overuse, or a sudden injury, such as twisting your knee, can cause the muscles and tendons to overstretch (strain) or the ligaments to tear (sprain).  The bones may twist, causing a misaligned joint.


Get Directions
8270 S Kyrene Rd, Ste 106
Tempe, AZ 85284
Get Directions
  • Phone: 480.392.2810
  • Fax: 866.554.3772
  • Email Us


Featured Articles

Newsletter Sign Up