What is IT Band Syndrome and How Do We Prevent It?

The IT band or iliotibial band is a thick band of tissue that stretches from our pelvis to our lower knee. Its purpose is to stabilize movements of the knee. If this band becomes too tight or too short, it rubs the leg and causes the knee joint to move out of alignment.

When you have this condition, you will experience pain on the outside of the knee while running. It will start out as a small twinge, but becomes more painful if the problem is not corrected. The pain is usually sporadic—appearing on some runs and not on others.


It is often not felt when you start running but begins to ache after a period of time or distance.  Also, the pain may feel worse when running down hills, but it usually subsides when you stop running.

If you are experiencing pain below or behind the knee cap, you may have runners knee

What causes IT Band Syndrome?

There are a number of causes for iliotibial band syndrome, but the most common is overuse and fatigue.  When this thick band of tissue is overused, it becomes too tight and becomes squeezed against the bone, resulting in pain and the inability to stabilize the entire leg. This is when the stress on the knee joint causes it to go out of alignment causing even more pain and discomfort.

IT band Syndrome

Other possible causes:

  • Weak hip abductors
  • Rapid increase in mileage
  • An inefficient Running posture
  • Not wearing the best running shoes for your feet
  • Running in worn-out shoes
  • Running on circular tracks
  • Running on uneven surfaces
  • Foot pronation
  • Downhill running

What to do when you have IT pain

As soon as you feel the first twinge of pain, take action—don't wait until you have a full-blown injury. Stop or reduce running, avoid hills, and get stretching! 

The IT band doesn't stretch very well as it is not a stretchy tissue. However, stretching the muscles that attach to it, such as the glutes and the tensor fasciae latae (TFL), which is located just in front of the femur, has proven to be very effective. See the video below on how to stretch this area using a foam roller.

An IT Band Compression Strap may help reduce pain and stabilize the leg. 


A deep tissue massage usually helps relieve the tightness and a temporary decrease in the amount of training miles will also speed recovery. Avoid hill training and running on uneven surfaces and circular tracks. Learn How to Use a Foam Roller and give yourself a deep tissue massage.

Active Isolated Stretching may also help speed recovery. 

My experience with IT Band Syndrome

When I trained for my first half marathon, I developed a problem with my iliotibial band. It occurred in the middle of a long run and it was very painful. Fortunately, I took the advice of a fellow runner and stopped running.

It was only a few weeks before the race and I didn't want to risk developing an injury and not being able to enjoy the race. I learned how to stretch the area and did so quite often, and I had a few massage therapy sessions. I believe taking action immediately helped prevent a painful and stubborn injury from developing. I was able to enjoy and complete my first half marathon without any further pain.

It is always wise to listen to our bodies. When they hurt, they are hurting for a reason. We need to listen and take action.

How to stretch the IT Band

Stretching your iliotibial band is a good habit to develop, even if you don't currently feel pain.

Check out this video on how to get a great stretch for this area using a form roller.


What can we learn from this painful experience?

I believe in every experience that we have in life exists an opportunity for learning and growth, especially the most painful ones. If we can uncover what the lesson contains and learn from it, we will not need to repeat the lesson (painful experience). The best way I know to gain this understanding is to sit quietly and clear our minds. Relax and silently ask, "What can I learn from this [experience, pain, injury]?" Then, continue to relax quietly and an answer may come to you in the form of an idea, a connection, a solution, or a concept that you had not thought about previously. 

If you don't receive an understanding right away, don't concern yourself about it. Just stay open to receiving the answer at another time or in another form. Trust that it will come to you and it will. Namaste! 

Back to top of IT Band

Return to Are You Prone to Running Injuries?



FTC Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying  purchases.
Learn more.

NEW FEATURE - DISQUS COMMENTS!

Be the first to comment.
Login using Facebook, Twitter, Google or Disqus.

Loading Comments
#disqus_thread { min-height: 200px; }

Recent Articles

  1. The Best Way to Carry Your Phone While Running!

    Feb 01, 23 10:29 AM

    Carry Phone While Running

    Do you wish there was a simpler, more discreet way to carry even your large phone while running? Are you frustrated with phone carriers for runners that are bulky and uncomfortable?

    Read More

  2. Barefoot Running on Sand Finally!

    Jan 18, 23 11:37 AM

    Barefoot Running on Sand

    Barefoot running on sand has to be the most enjoyable way to run and to my delight, I finally found a new holiday beach that is ideal for running.

    Read More

  3. What are your running goals for 2023?

    Jan 14, 23 08:50 AM

    Running Goals

    What are your running goals for 2023? What was your greatest achievement in 2022? A new year is the perfect time to set a new goal and reflect on last year's achievements. Please share your new goals…

    Read More

  4. Stay healthy and keep running!

    Dec 29, 22 07:01 AM

    Stay Healthy

    Learn how to stay healthy and keep running using the power of our mind! Are you often plagued by headaches, colds, influenza, sinus infections and other common illnesses that keep interfering with yo…

    Read More

  5. Happy Holidays!

    Dec 24, 22 07:31 AM

    Stay Healthy

    The holidays create many golden memories, but they are also a very stressful time for many of us. Stress often creates illnesses that we would happily do without. We want to stay healthy so we can fe…

    Read More

  6. Get motivated to run!

    Nov 24, 22 10:11 AM

    Motivated for running

    We all want to stay motivated for running as we know how powerful it is. Motivation is a powerful driving force that cannot be deterred and when we are truly motivated, there is no obstacle that can…

    Read More

  7. Do you need waterproof running shoes?

    Nov 13, 22 11:03 AM

    Waterproof shoes

    I want to my feet to be warm and dry when winter running but buying waterproof running shoes is not the only option. Find out what else you can do to stay dry and warm this winter while running.

    Read More

  8. What is Runner's Knee?

    Oct 31, 22 11:52 AM

    Runners Knee

    Runner’s knee is a painful knee injury that accounts for 27 percent of all running related injuries. Find out how to speed recovery and prevent it from re-occurring.

    Read More

  9. Decide How You Will Deal With Running Pain!

    Oct 28, 22 08:03 AM

    Running Pain

    Choose how you deal with running pain and avoid injuries! We can help stop injuries from developing when we choose a different response to pain, which can also help us develop a coping strategy for a…

    Read More

  10. What is IT Band Syndrome and how do we prevent it?

    Oct 05, 22 08:15 AM

    IT Band Syndrome

    When you have this condition, you will experience pain on the outside of the knee while running. The pain is usually sporadic—appearing on some runs and not on others. Find out the causes of ITBS, wh…

    Read More