ITB Injury From Running

A common injury that is due to overuse or "doing too much" is the Iliotbial Band Syndrome, commonly referred to as an ITB injury. The ITB is a thick muscle that extends from the hip to the outside of the knee. This muscle helps to stabilize the knee and to rotate the foot during heel/foot strike and toe-off. The ITB rubs against a bone that is just above the knee and can become inflamed.

IT Band injuries can have several causes, including the following.

  • Increasing mileage too quickly
  • Running too fast for the current body condition
  • Running on roads with a curvature or crown such that the sake leg is always on the outside of the road
  • Insufficient stretching of the IT Band and hip-related muscles
  • Excessive pronation and not wearing proper shoes

Treatment does not involve surgery. It does involve physical therapy, flexibility and strengthening stretches for the hip and knees, getting proper shoes or orthotics, rest from running, and a slow, gradual return to running.

CAUTION: Do not try to run through the pain of an ITB injury!! You may make the injury worse, and it could become chronic.

The information on this site is for informational purposes only; it does not constitute medical or physical therapy advice. For medical advice, consult a physician. For physical therapy advice, consult a physical therapist.


scottatl said...


Appreciate the site and had a question. Tweaked my IT band over the holiday and have taken up swimming, low-impact elliptical/stationary bike and jump rope in the meantime. I have also purchased a foam roller to help stretch the area in question. My question is how long til I should hit the road again. I was running about 35 miles a week, does this mean I need to do .5 or 1 mile at a time when i do start running again?



Allen said...

Hi Scott,

I can't give an exact answer to your question since we're all different. A general answer is to listen to your body and to make increases in distance or speed appropriately.

I've found that when I'm off running for a relatively long time for some reason, I can usually start back in doing about half the distance I was doing before.

One "parameter" that I've found useful for me is my body energy. Whenever I feel tired, I take an extra rest day or two (until I feel energetic again). Of course, my age (73) is a key factor in how fast I get back into running. Doing the low-impact cross training that you mentioned is a good alternate to taking a full day of rest. At my advanced age, I need the full day of rest.