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Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome Causes & Risks


ITBFS is caused by repetitive friction or rubbing of the iliotibial band against the bone on the outer side of the knee. This excessive rubbing can irritate the ITB itself and/or the underlying tissue.

Causes of the excessive friction include:

  • Structural abnormalities
  • Incorrect training technique
  • Increasing distance run or cycling too quickly
  • Overtraining
  • Equipment (ie, bicycle) that is not properly fit to the user
  • Wearing improper shoes for a sport or athletic activity
  • Using damaged or worn out equipment or footwear
  • Failing to stretch properly
  • Muscle imbalances due to not strengthening opposing muscles (such as the quadriceps and hamstrings)

Risk Factors

Risk factors for developing ITBFS include:

  • A short, tight IT band
  • A very prominent lateral femoral epicondyle (bony structure on the outer side of the knee)
  • Problems related to the foot or hip
  • Bowlegs
  • Inward rotation of the leg
  • Legs of different lengths
  • Certain sports with repetitive motions, such as running and cycling
  • Running up and down hills

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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