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Runner’s Knee & Iliotibial Band Syndrome

What Is Runner’s Knee & Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

Runner’s knee is a broad term that can describe several injuries to the knee, including:

  • Pain from overuse
  • A direct hit to the knee
  • Feet problems
  • Weak thigh muscles
  • Breakdown of cartilage under the kneecap

Runner’s knee can also be caused by iliotibial (IT) band syndrome. The iliotibial band runs from the pelvis, alongside the outside of the thigh to the tibia (shinbone). The IT band is the tendon attachment of the hip muscles to the lower leg, contributing to lateral knee stability and hip motion. When the IT band becomes inflamed, it can cause pain at the hip or knee.


There are many symptoms of runner’s knee and IT band syndrome:

Runner’s Knee

  • Discomfort at or under the front of the kneecap
  • Discomfort with bending knee with weight on leg
  • Increased pain when walking downstairs or downhill
  • Swelling
  • Popping sound or grinding feeling in the knee

Iliotibial Band Syndrome

  • Pain on the outside of the knee
  • Pain at the hip
  • Pain when walking or going up or down steps

Treatment Options

An orthopedic or sports medicine provider will work closely with you to diagnose your injury and create a treatment plan to help strengthen the site of the injury and reduce your risk of reinjuring your knee or IT band.

Treatment options may include:

  • Rest and ice – Taking a break from activities that cause pain can help reduce swelling and allow the injury to heal. Ice can also help reduce painful inflammation.
  • MedicationAnti-inflammatories help manage symptoms.
  • Physical therapy – A physical therapist can recommend exercises to help strengthen the hip and knee, stretches for the hip and IT band and surrounding muscles to help stabilize the injured area, and reduce your risk of future injury.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of runner’s knee or iliotibial band syndrome, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat runner’s knee and iliotibial band syndrome.