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Iliotibial Band Syndrome

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yeah i haven found that although i still cannot run, i can go climbing - no rock or vertical ice climbing but i'm finding that the more i go up to the mountains, the less it hurts.


it's more of a dull pain that i've learned to deal with. i wear a Cho-Strap Knee Strap every time though. i think the strengthening of my leg muscles that mountaineering brings naturally has helped a lot. i've just got to be careful and pay attention to it. which includes stretching out before and after climbs and hikes

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This may be a silly Q, but have you taken a serious amount of time off? I've had IT issues before, and the first time it just went away after a month of so of tapered training, icing, stretching and massage. And the second time it flared up after a day of hiking where I gained/lost 10k (20k total), again I had to wait and wait before I could do anything again. I now take precautions when starting up the training from doing nothing for a long time.

FWIW I used one of those total knee brace things that goes over your entire knee. Also I made sure to do balanced stretches, like if I am stretching the medial part of my leg, stretch the lateral part as well.

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The foam roller mentioned above was, for me, a silver bullet. It hurts like hell when you first use it, but over a few days it strips out the IT band and makes it more pliable and then it isn't near as painful to roll on it. I had a serious issue with it that lasted a few months but the roller and some diligent stretching, along with some massage, took care of it. The foam roller is about $10 and worth every penny.

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yup i've taken time off - about 2 years lol.

it only got better once i decided to test the waters and start with small hikes, then backpacking, then climbing..


i tried running again, and the pain flared up once again.


so i've just been dealing with it, taking precautions, and doing as much as i can about it to help the problem.


i need to get one of those foam rollers.. any idea anywhere in seattle where i could get one? or even online?

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You see these foam rollers in many gyms nowadays, and almost every PT clinic will have them. They are available to buy at many sporting goods places- I would try Big5 or Sports Authority. Better yet, google "therapeutic foam roller" and you'll find them for really cheap.

For the IT band, you'll want the 12" long one; there are longer ones that are good for rolling under your back.

It's basically a firm, compact foam material.

For the IT band, lay on your side and put the roller under your outer thigh; roll up and down on your leg, slowly, with as much weight on the roller as you can bear while keeping you leg straight, but also try not to flex your thigh muscles too much. Roll between just below your knee (the IT attachment point) all the way up to you outer butt. The 'sweet spot' you will likely find as the depression just above your outer knee- it will take some time to loosen this area and that is usually where the worst pain occurs with IT problems. But you'll be surprised at how tight it can feel just above that area so focus on the whole band equally!


Your results of course may vary so I also recommend talking to a PT or a massage therapist. Massage therapist used to use an actual rolling pin (like the baking kind) on the IT ban before the foamy became available.


Good luck--

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some causes...


Leg length inequality - anatomical (shorter bones) or functional (scoliosis, SI joint rotation)


Muscle imbalance: weak hamstrings, quads (esp medial quad), gluts, TFL... or overly tight of said muscles


Foot: over-pronator (causes foot to roll, hip to drop...) under-pronator (stiff foot = shock) improper shoes


Poor gait


a whole host of knee issues

the list goes on....




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I tried the foam roller and cried. Guess i'm not man enough for it, so be warned if your ITs are strung tighter than a guitar string it's going to be fun.

When i started back up with physical activity, outside of normal everyday walking and biking to class/work I did it at the gym not outside. I did this because I can control everything on a treadmill, and change things very slowly, and know that every different time on the machine i will be going at the same exact pace. I did a week or two at 20 minutes, then 2 or 3 weeks for 30 minutes (3x week). I'd walk for the first 5 minutes, then jog for 5 then walk for the last 10 (good pace, right around that point where you can not comfortably walk before having to run). I did the same thing for the 30 minute time frame, (5@walk 10@ run 5@walk 5/10@ run 5 @walk). I would increase the gradient while walking, but I ran on the flat. After 5/6 weeks of that, I was ready to 20/30 minutes worth of running, and then could proceed like normal for increasing running distance.

I also got a pair of trekking poles which are awesome for the downhills because thats what tweaks the knees.

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I experienced ITBS early summer of 2002, at least that was the diagnosis I got. I maybe didn't have a real bad case of it although, I experienced one of my most painful hikes out from a climb. It was off trail and dark which didn't help any either. It felt like at any point my knee could simply seize up.


I was given a list of stretches to do during PT. I ended up using a stretch that wasn't in the list, but was easy to do any where and felt at least as effective. I've seen runners performing this stretch. My left knee was affected so, while standing I would cross my right foot in front of my left foot and stand with my legs crossed. I would then bend down reaching towards my left foot with my left hand. One can make small adjustments to get a really good stretch of the band.


I was a bit nervous about my condition, but I continued climbing the rest of the summer. When I felt the tightness I would perform the stretch for about 30 seconds. Again, apparently my case wasn't particularly advanced or severe. I do believe this stretch was particularly beneficial for me. I haven't had a recurrence.

Edited by gary_hehn
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  • 6 months later...

IT BAND FORUM! This is terrific.


I ran into IT band pain while training for my first marathon. My reaction then was to take it easy, get some massages and go for it.


This time around (for marathon number 2), I am working the FOAM ROLLER like a son-of-a-b*tch.


The first 5 days, this damn piece of foam made me sweat and curse just by rolling my leg on it. BUT, after 5-7 days, the pain went away.


I can now just roll around on my IT bands without any hint of pain. AND THE BEST THING!...no IT band problems whatsoever.


So buy a foam roller (Dick's sporting goods, Fred Meyer, most running stores, etc.) and get set for intense pain followed by an immense satisfaction from getting rid of the IT problems.


Best of luck!

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Off and on for years. I've found that diligent stretching helps, but the ultimate cure is balanced strengthening of the medial thigh muscles. You know that "Thigh Master" thingy Susanne Summers used to sell on late-night infomercials? Anything that replicates that type of exercise will help. I use a thera-band around my ankle, with the other end around the foot of the sofa, and pull against it repeatedly while watching TV. I've also noticed it doesn't bother me during ski season, presumably because telemarking works all the muscles in the leg so that everything is better balanced. IT bands only bother me during the summer when all my activities seem to work only the outer muscles. So if I could keep skiing all year 'round, my problem would be solved.

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Basic exercises and stretching can help with IT band problems


Here's a link to a

we use on YouTube for patients.


Also focus on strengthing glutes and reducing any adductor (inner thigh) tighness since both of these issues add to strain on the IT band and the development of knee pain


Foam roller is helpful - personal favorite is the GRID foam roller by the folks at TP Therapy. Compact and sturdy.


Hope this helps!



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