ITB (ilio-tibial band) issues and treatments


Nurse Director
Jun 8, 2007
The North
United Kingdom United Kingdom
The IT band is combination of muscle with a covering of tough fibrous bands called fascia. It starts on the outside top of the pelvis, passes over the greater trochanter of the hip, down the outside of the thigh and inserts into the side of the patella (knee cap) and the tibia, (shin bone). It also makes a sharp curve around the top of the tibia, just under and at the front of the knee joint.

ITB 1.jpg

The IT band is one of the main structures used when walking, running, cycling and doing stairs or lunges. Because of its length and complexity - being involved with both the hip and the knee - it can easily become aggravated and inflamed, especially where it is attached to to bone when it is referred to as ilio-tibial band syndrome. The bursa on the trochanter at the hip can also become involved with its own special inflammatory condition called trochanteric bursitis.

There are a variety of methods of treating ITB syndrome.

First line treatment
As usual, rest, ice and pain meds!

TENS machines can be effective but don't apply the pads over bony prominences.
Read here for more information TENS machines

Topical gels like Ibuleve or Voltarol gel are good on places where the IT band is really superficial like the knee or the greater trochanter but may not be as effective in larger more fleshy areas like the mid thigh or buttocks. Don't forget to keep a count of the amount you are using because the usual daily maximums apply as with tablets.

Reasonably effective if you can do them! However, THR restrictions and being early in THR/TKR recovery might make them difficult to do. However, these would appear to be the best ones - actually all of them are pretty much the same manoeuvre, just achieved in slightly different ways stretches 1.gif

itb stretch.jpg

itb stretch 3.jpg

itb stretch 4.jpg

Steroid Injections
Into the most tender spots which are invariably at the greater trochanter when it might be with or without bursitis, or at the knee. Read this article for more information on cortisone injections Cortisone shots

If your pain is at the knee, try this Compression Wrap
How It Works: This IT Band Wrap provides targeted compression, stabilizing the Iliotibial tract and it absorbs stress to the area and reduces friction and rubbing of the femoral condyle.
Design Theory: The IT Band Wrap includes a compression pad which provides targeted compression. It is 2" wide and is made from UBL neoprene which is comfortable on the skin. Now with a NEW non-slip backing!

compression band.JPG
Pro-Tech Athletics IT compression Band Wrap

Massage and chiropractic treatment
If you can find a good massage therapist who knows how to get into those tight, painful fibres, they are by far the best way of getting ITB and other tendinitis issues dealt with. The massage is painful when applied but should stop the instant the therapist stops. You know then that it is doing the job!

Do it yourself acupressure
Probably the best of all for places you can reach as you can do it wherever and when ever you want to! Acupressure massage
Last edited by a moderator:
Another effective exercise you can do for upper IT Band tightness is to roll on a foam cylinder. This provides a similar result to the accupressure. These rolls should be done several times a week. Start with 5 movements up and back and gradually work up to at least 10. If you feel pain when you do this exercise, it means the IT Band is still tight and you should continue working on it. Lessen the pressure on your leg by using your hands or the opposite foot flexed as shown in the video. Some mild discomfort is okay, but real pain should be avoided.


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