Knee > Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome > Treatments

   Non-Operative Treatment

Home recovery

Most cases of ITB friction syndrome do not require surgery and can heal using a combination of rest, anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, and stretching and strengthening exercises. The severity of your symptoms will dictate the course of action your physician recommends.


Rest is perhaps the most important part of any treatment program for ITB friction syndrome. If pain is making it difficult for you to pursue your normal activities, limiting those activities will help speed your recovery.


Non-steroidal inflammatory medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, can be taken for one or two weeks, or as long as symptoms persist. Follow the directions on the bottle for how often to take the medication.


Because ITB friction syndrome is a chronic condition, immobilizing your knee in a brace or cast or using crutches will not aid in rehabilitation. However, you should probably try to avoid squatting, or walking or running up hills or stairs, since these movements place added stress on your knees.


Physical therapy exercises for ITB friction syndrome include stretching the ITB as well as strengthening exercises for all the muscles around the knee, particularly the quadriceps and hamstring muscles. Heat applied to the affected area of your knee can aid in loosening up the muscles and tendons before you stretch. In addition, icing your knee and elevating it above heart level while you are resting after exercise can reduce pain by restricting blood flow to the area. The affected area should be iced for about 15 minutes, two or three times a day, to decrease pain and inflammation. You will most likely have to modify your exercise routine if you participate in activities that place strain on the ITB, like running or cycling. When you resume, you may want to begin slowly and gradually work up to your normal level. You may be able to exercise with minimal pain, however. Depending on the severity of your pain, you can decrease your training program by about 50 percent. If this does not ease your symptoms, training should be decreased again by 50 percent. You can also reduce the intensity of your workout - for example, riding an exercise bike with less resistance than usual - or eliminating hills from a running workout. During this time, you can maintain conditioning by focusing on upper-body exercises. Other types of activities that will put less stress on your knee include swimming, water running, and rollerblading. Depending on the severity of the irritation, pain from ITB friction syndrome usually subsides over a period of several weeks. If symptoms persist, you should consult your doctor about considering more aggressive measures.


   ITB stretching exercises



The iliotibial band (ITB) rubs against the outside of the knee as part of the knee's normal motion. The goal is to prevent this motion from causing irritation and pain. Following are some steps you can take to prevent ITB friction syndrome:

   Make sure to stretch and strengthen the muscles around your knees, particularly the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip muscles, in addition to the ITB.

   Warm up before you exercise, and stretch after you are done.

   Have your physician check to see if your feet turn inward excessively (over-pronation), and if they do, make sure to wear running shoes with proper support and cushioning.

   If you do a lot of cycling, adjust your seat height so that you are not stretching too far at the bottom of the down stroke.

   If you run frequently at a track, alternate direction (clockwise and counter-clockwise) to avoid excessive ITB strain on your outside leg.

   Do not suddenly increase your training duration or intensity; try to progress in small increments.

Non-Operative Treatment
   Home Recovery
Therapeutic Injection (Corticosteroid)
Surgical Release

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