Runners Guide To Iliotibial Band Syndrome

When I was in the prime of my high school running career, I learned what injuries could do to a young athlete. We were in the middle of a cold Nebraska winter, and I had been running consistently outside. I kept feeling fantom pains in my knee and hips.

At one point, I had to take a few weeks off from running due to the pain. I didn’t understand what was going on, and I never went into a physio to find out. The pain seemed to go away, so I went back to practice.

I went on a 6-mile run and came back limping with excruciating pain. My coach told me to finish strides for my cool down and go see my trainer. I was running out into the field and collapsed at the fifty-yard line. My teammate helped me limp to the trainer where I was told that I was having issues with my iliotibial band.

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

That day, I learned a lot more about the iliotibial band and what all it did for my body. “The iliotibial band is a band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh” (WebMD, 2017). It does several things, including bringing stability to the hip, bringing stability to the knee, and keeping joints in place.

The iliotibial band is able to tighten or overdevelop. This causes it to start to rub against the hip bone or the outer part of your kneecap (WebMD, 2017). Whenever you bend your knee, the band will rub against the bone.

This injury is very common among athletes who do aerobic exercises like runners or cyclists. As I learned the hard way, iliotibial band syndrome is not something that should be taken lightly, and you should seek treatment. The most important thing is recognizing the symptoms.


You will experience pain on the outside of your knee and hip. I normally had the pain shoot back and forth. However, it would always be a sharp pain that was always present.

You can also have a snapping pain inside of your hip as the band goes back and forth across the bone. This is called greater trochanter. The pain was always present when I started working out.

The hardest part about the injury was the fact that the pain would go away after a few days of rest. I would try to run again only to find myself throbbing in pain once again. Since I never truly got it treated, the injured occurred several times and ended my high school running career.

The pain actually normally subsides with iliotibial band syndrome when the band is stretched out and is more flexible. The pain also improves with rest, which is why I always struggled to treat it as a stubborn high school kid.

You will also sense a lot of knee pain due to inflammation around that area. The pain will be most prevalent whenever you are walking or running. You will also experience tightness of the iliotibial band and struggle with flexibility. When I was in the peak of the injury, my v-sit and reach was in negative numbers.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome Hip Pain

Hip pain is very common with iliotibial band. Hip pain also can cause iliotibial band syndrome in certain cases. If the source of the pain is causing tension on the band, then it can start to develop inflammation and tightness.

Not only do people with this injury have to go through severe knee pain, but they also tend to have severe pain in their hips. Normally, this is caused to the imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstrings and tightness on the band.

I would suggest getting the hip pain treated as well as the iliotibial band injury. When I was going through the process, I would get to packs of ice on my hips and my whole entire knee wrapped around with ice. Even though one treatment won’t help in the long term, multiple treatments can help alleviate pain.

If you are experiencing knee pain and hip pain, that is more reason to seek medical help. They will be able to diagnose if you have iliotibial band syndrome. Not only that, they will also have the best treatment for your injury.

Bilateral Iliotibial Band Syndrome

This injury becomes more intriguing when it is in both legs. Shortly after injuring my right iliotibial band, I also injured my left one. This caused bilateral iliotibial band syndrome.

I remember meeting my now ex-girlfriend’s parents with ice completely surrounding both of my legs. I was limping in and out of chairs and cars. When you have an injury on both of your iliotibial bands, then you need to take time to rest.

I used rollers on my bands in order to help stretch them out more. It would relieve the tightness and give me the ability to walk without limping.

If you have bilateral iliotibial band syndrome, then you should definitely see a physical trainer or doctor. It will cause twice the amount of pain. Resting is a key factor in recovery.


Overall, iliotibial band syndrome has several causes. A tightness of the hips can cause issues and strain, which will lead to inflammation. The injury will also cause immense pain inside of the knee and hip.

Rest is one the of the key factors in trying to overcome this injury. The pain will go away when you are at a resting position. However, it will come back once you start walking or running. Therefore, make sure that you are mixing ice with rest in order to help them heal.

Do not do what I did in high school. I was stubborn and kept running as much as I could. This just led to further injuring the iliotibial band. Not treating this injury ended up destroying most of my running career. Therefore, take the time to treat this injury with care, so you will be able to overcome it.