The Dreaded IT Band Syndrome

WHO GETS IT?IT Band (Ileo Tibial Band) syndrome is a common overuse injury in cyclist, runners, hikers, skaters, and many others athletic events that require loading on the knees. 

What causes it? Many times when I see this in runners, it has come on with quick increase in mileage. Often it is a problem with running on an uneven surface, such as the shoulder of a road, sidewalks, trails, and so on. Running downhill will also aggravate the IT Band, because of the pounding on the knees. The runner may also have a severe heel strike. Sometimes, IT Band Syndrome is as simple as adjusting the bike seat and is an anatomical imbalance.

What is the IT Band? It is a facial continuation of the Tensor Fascia Latte (TFL), which starts in the lateral hip area. As the TFL goes down the lateral side of your leg it turns tendenous and works to stabilize your quadriceps and hamstring muscles. The IT Band ends near the fibular head on the lateral leg.

What are symptoms for IT Band syndrome? Typically patients will complain of popping or clicking in and around the lateral knee. The runner may have pain when running downhill or when their heel strikes the ground. As mentioned before, the pain may come on with increase in miles or uneven surfaces. Sometimes the pain may manifest into the front of the knee if the patient has other biomechanical problems.

TREATMENT FOR IT Band syndrome? Typical treatment is ice, rest, massage, stretching, and foam rolling. There is also a last resort of surgery which has no guarantees and will put the patient out for two to three months. Although these methods may work for more mild cases they often do not fix the problem for very long. If the athlete has to treat the area each time they complete a workout then the treatment is not working. They need a more permanent solution.

The Best treatment for IT Band syndrome is Active Release Technique (ART). With ART the muscle is able to be reduced from scar tissue that has formed from imbalance. Because scar tissue is the main issue, ART works to decrease scar tissue and lengthen the muscle, thus allowing the IT Band to slide over surrounding muscles with ease. We have seen many cases of IT Band Syndrome in our office relieved with the use of ART and recommend it for almost all injuries. To learn more about ART and related injury issues visit and

Dr. Tom Fletcher has been licensed as an IRONMAN triathlon network provider and Active Release provider for over five years. As part of the medical staff at many IRONMAN events, Dr. Fletcher has treated world class athletes from around the world, including three time world champion Chrissie Wellington of Great Britain, as well as many local heroes. For more information about injuries you are experiencing, call or visit Wasatch Health Solutions.

Wasatch Health Solutions
5801 South Fashion Blvd., #175, Murray, UT, 84107