5 Ways to Self-Treat IT Band Syndrome

If you live an active lifestyle, you know it can take a toll on the body. And injury is the last thing any of us want to deal with. IT Band Syndrome (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) can happen to anyone performing physical activity. However, it’s most often found in runners. IT Band Syndrome is painful and debilitating, leaving you unable to participate in the activities you love. If you suffer from IT Band Syndrome, here are some great ways to find relief and promote recovery at home.

What is the IT Band?

The IT band is a thick bunch of fibers that runs from the outside of the hips to the outside of your knee and shinbone. It supports our legs during movement and prevents the knee from buckling. It also helps to extend and rotate your hip. However, when your IT band gets too tight, it can lead to inflammation and pain around your knee. 

What is IT Band Syndrome?

IT Band Syndrome occurs from overuse and causes pain on the outside of the knee. Irritated tissues cause pain beneath the IT band, not the IT band itself. Therefore, your IT band is not injured despite the injury's name. In fact, your IT band itself has little to do with the injury. Instead, the damaged structures are the tissues that lie directly underneath the IT band. The problem occurs when the IT band becomes tight and causes friction where it crosses over your knee during movement. When there is too much repetitive strain on the knee, these structures become inflamed and painful. 


The primary symptom of IT Band Syndrome is pain on the outer side of the knee. In the beginning, the pain may go away after you are warmed up. However, as time goes on, you might notice that your pain worsens as you exercise. Other symptoms may include aching, burning, redness, and feeling a pop or snap on the outside of the knee. 


On the bright side, IT Band Syndrome will usually get better without a trip to the doctor with time and self-care. Learn how to quickly get back to doing what you love with these self-treatment techniques. 

Stop Strenuous Activity

Strenuous activity, especially running, will exacerbate IT band pain. If an activity or exercise hurts, simply stop. 

Strengthen your Hip Muscles

Weakness in your hips and glutes can lead to IT Band Syndrome. This is because weakness in the hip and glute muscles leads the IT band to take on more stress than it can handle during exercise, causing damage and strain. Therefore, it’s crucial to strengthen these areas. 

Massage and Ice the Injured Area

In many cases, massaging the painful area can be very helpful. Using a foam roller to work out the tightness in the IT band, glute, and hip is a great way to find relief and help you feel loose. Applying ice to the outside of the knee is also an effective way to reduce inflammation and pain. 

Check your Shoes

Believe it or not, working out in worn-out shoes could be causing your pain. This is because the tread on our shoes can wear out faster than we may think, leaving our feet and heels without the proper support they need. This can result in IT Band Syndrome or other lower body issues.