What is ITB Syndrome and How Can You Treat it?

ITB Syndrome

One of the more common issues faced by long-distance runners, cyclists and other athletes who repeatedly squat, is called ITB Syndrome. ITB Syndrome, or Iliotibial Band Syndrome, is an overuse injury of tissues of the outer thigh and knee and can be extremely painful and tender especially just above the knee joint, but the right treatment approach will mitigate a large portion of its effects.

The iliotibial band is a thick band of connective tissue that connects the hip to the shin, running down the outside of the thigh. By anchoring the knee to the hip, it helps stabilize the knee joint. But when the iliotibial band stops working properly, moving the knee becomes very painful, which inhibits running or even climbing up or down steps.

ITB Syndrome manifests similarly to a knee injury, so many people conflate the two. The most accurate way to identify ITB Syndrome is to get an MRI that will be used to look for inflammation surrounding and beneath the iliotibial band. That will allow doctors to distinguish between possible injuries in that area.

Your first step if you have ITB Syndrome is to rest and treat the inflammation by icing the painful area or using topical ointments. ITB Syndrome needs time to heal, and if you try to push through it you could just cause more damage. Prevention is a key component and includes maintaining flexibility of the low back and leg muscles.

Therapeutic massage is one of the best and safest methods to treat ITB Syndrome. Regular massage can help loosen and relax the ITB, reducing recovery time and decreasing the chance that the condition will become chronic. Massage should not be done immediately after the injury, as heat and pressure will exacerbate any inflammation that is occurring. For most cases of ITB Syndrome, 48 hours is a long enough wait before starting massages. In addition, you should do soft stretching and use a foam roller to keep the ITB loose between massage sessions.

As with most knee-related injuries, ITB Syndrome can be scary, but if you approach it properly it is actually quite easy to treat.

Contact us for more information about ITB Syndrome and therapeutic massage or Book your session today.

Love and Light,



Liraz Bergman-Turner is a Licensed Massage Therapist, Reiki Master & the owner of Heavenly Embrace, a massage and energy healing practice in Boulder, CO.

Heavenly Embrace Wellness 2310 Juniper Ave, Boulder, CO 80304 (720) 515-9034 liraz@heavenlyembrace.com
The Art of Massage & Bodywork