Iliotibial Band Syndrome (IT Band Syndrome)

  • Medical Author:
    Benjamin Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM

    Dr. Ben Wedro practices emergency medicine at Gundersen Clinic, a regional trauma center in La Crosse, Wisconsin. His background includes undergraduate and medical studies at the University of Alberta, a Family Practice internship at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario and residency training in Emergency Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

View the Least Effective Exercises Slideshow Pictures

What exercises should be avoided with iliotibial band (IT band) syndrome?

Most patients recover from iliotibial band syndrome, but it can take from weeks to months to return to full activity without pain. Patience in allowing the body to heal is required for optimal results.

Understanding the importance of symmetry in the body is helpful in preventing iliotibial band syndrome. When activities alter that symmetry, symptoms may occur.

Symptoms may occur in runners who always run in the same direction on an indoor track or who always run on the same side of a banked road. This causes an artificial tilt to the pelvis and increases the risk of developing inflammation and pain. When running indoors, it is wise to change directions when running longer distances. Some tracks have the runners change directions every few minutes while others change direction on alternate days. While running toward traffic is an important safety strategy, finding a way to run on the opposite side of the street safely may minimize the risk of developing iliotibial band syndrome.

Bicyclists are at risk for iliotibial band syndrome if they tend to pedal with their toes turned in (internally rotated), which can cause abnormal stretching of the iliotibial band at the knee. Being aware of pedaling technique and setting the pedals and clips properly may minimize the risk of developing symptoms.

Keeping muscles and other structures stretched is an important part of prevention of many musculoskeletal injuries, including iliotibial band syndrome.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/22/2016

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