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How to treat ITB syndrome effectively with Osteopathy

Is ITB Syndrome as bad as it sounds, and can proper leg stretching really resolve it? At Movement Mechanics Osteopathy Auckland, we frequently encounter these questions. Let's unravel the complexities of ITB Syndrome and how effective management, including specialised treatments, can offer significant relief.

Knee pain treatment

Understanding ITB Syndrome

ITB (Ilio-Tibial Band) Syndrome is a prevalent issue among runners, manifesting as pain on the outer side of the knee. This pain is due to the friction of the ITB, a tight tissue band extending from the hip to the knee, against the outer knee structures. Such friction can cause significant discomfort during running activities (Falvey et al., 2010).

The Reality of ITB Stretches

The ITB, by nature, is not very elastic. It's designed to be taut to stabilise the hip and knee. Problems arise when it's excessively tight, creating undue pressure on underlying structures. Due to its inherent tightness, stretching alone often proves insufficient in isolation. Identifying and addressing the underlying causes of this tightness is key to effective treatment (Fredericson & Weir, 2006).

Runner knee pain

Comprehensive Diagnosis: The First Step

A thorough diagnosis is crucial for effective ITB Syndrome management. This condition often stems from mechanical imbalances in the lower extremity, involving the foot, knee, hip, and pelvis. Moreover, muscle imbalances can both precede and contribute to this injury. Therefore, a holistic diagnosis, rather than just a symptomatic treatment, is essential (Baker, 2018).

Whats causing knee pain

Osteopathic Perspective on ITB Syndrome

Pelvic Imbalance: A Common Culprit

Our clinical experience over the years has revealed that pelvic imbalance is a frequent cause of persistent ITB syndrome. This imbalance can lead to reduced stride length on one side, causing muscle length discrepancies and joint overload in the leg. Consequently, this can result in the ITB becoming overly tight, creating pressure and friction on the knee's outer structures, especially during running (Ellis, Hing, & Reid, 2007).

Addressing Patella Tracking Issues

Runner's knee, or patella tracking issues, is another factor to consider. Weakness in the lower thigh muscles can lead to misalignment of the kneecap, resulting in pain and pressure. Over time, this can cause a tighter ITB and, subsequently, knee pain during weight-bearing exercises, particularly on inclines.

Knee pain patellar

The Road to Recovery

For effective knee problem resolution, a comprehensive diagnosis is imperative. While home stretching may provide temporary relief, a detailed understanding of the underlying cause, accompanied by a tailored treatment and management plan, is vital for long-term recovery.

Don’t Let ITB Syndrome Halt Your Training

ITB syndrome is highly manageable. If your current treatment isn't providing rapid relief, consider seeking a second opinion. Don’t let this condition prevent you from maintaining an active lifestyle.

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At Movement Mechanics Osteopathy Auckland, we emphasize the importance of a holistic approach in treating ITB Syndrome. Understanding the root cause of your pain is our priority, ensuring we provide a specialised treatment plan for effective relief. If ITB syndrome is impacting your running or daily activities, don't hesitate to reach out for expert care.

We invite your comments and experiences regarding ITB syndrome. Have you struggled with it, and what treatments have you found effective? Share your story below. For information on other potential causes of knee pain check out out page dedicated to knee pain here.


Jonathan Hall M.Ost, BAppSci (Human Biology), PGCertHSc (Acupuncture), GradDipHeal

Jonathan Hall is the founder and principal Osteopath at Movement Mechanics Osteopathy. Jonathan specialises in Shockwave Therapy and Western medical acupuncture. A fully qualified Osteopath registered with OCNZ, PNZ, PAANZ and ACC, Jonathan also founded Auckland Shockwave Therapy to help bring evidence-based Shockwave treatment to New Zealand using the industry-leading EMS Radial Shock Wave device.

Baker, R. L. (2018). Iliotibial band syndrome in runners: A review of the literature. Journal of Athletic Training, 53(11), 1060-1064.

Ellis, R., Hing, W., & Reid, D. (2007). Iliotibial band friction syndrome—A systematic review. Manual Therapy, 12(3), 200-208.

Powers, C. M. (2010). The influence of abnormal hip mechanics on knee injury: A biomechanical perspective. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 40(2), 42-51.

Falvey, E. C., Clark, R. A., Franklyn-Miller, A., Bryant, A. L., Briggs, C., & McCrory, P. R. (2010). Iliotibial band syndrome: An examination of the evidence behind a number of treatment options. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 20(4), 580-587.

Fredericson, M., & Weir, A. (2006). Practical management of iliotibial band friction syndrome in runners. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 16(3), 261-268.

Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

© Movement Mechanics Osteopathy Auckland 2023. All rights reserved.

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