Munson Health
Iliotibial Band Syndrome

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by Smith CM

(IT Band Friction Syndrome; ITBFS; ITBS)



Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Recovery time ranges depending on the grade of your injury. Treatment steps may include:

Acute Care

Your IT band will need time to heal. Avoid activities that place extra stress on the knee:
  • Do not do activities that cause pain. This includes running, jumping, and weight lifting using the leg muscles.
  • If normal walking hurts, shorten your stride.
  • Do not play sports until your doctor has said it is safe to do so.
Your doctor may recommend a foot orthotic to help control rototation of the foot. This will help stabilize the knee.
Apply an ice or a cold pack to the area for 15-20 minutes, four times a day, for several days after the injury. Do not apply the ice directly to your skin. Wrap the ice or cold pack in a towel.
Pain Relief Medications
To manage pain, your doctor may recommend:
  • Over-the-counter medication, such as aspirin , ibuprofen , or acetaminophen
  • Prescription pain relievers
  • Corticosteroid injections

Recovery Steps

Use heat only when you are returning to physical activity. Heat may then be used before stretching or getting ready to play sports to help loosen the muscle.
When the acute pain is gone, start gentle stretching as recommended. Stay within pain limits. Hold each stretch for about 10 seconds and repeat six times. Stretch several times a day.
Begin strengthening exercises for your muscles as recommended.


Surgery may be necessary in cases when there is no response to other forms of treatment.


American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

American College of Sports Medicine



Canadian Orthopaedic Association

The University of British Columbia Department of Orthopaedics



Baker RL, Souza RB, et al. Iliotibial band syndrome: soft tissue and biomechanical factors in evaluation and treatment. PMR. 2011;3(6):550-561.

Fredericson M, Wolf C. Iliotibial band syndrome in runners: innovations in treatment. Sports Med. 2005;35(5):451-459.

Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome. Updated September 5, 2012. Accessed May 3, 2013.

Strauss EJ, et al. Iliotibial band syndrome: evaluation and management. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2011 Dec;19(12):728-36.


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